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19 Oct

When to Reject a Settlement Offer for a Personal Injury

Knowing when to reject a settlement offer for a personal injury claim can be difficult since several factors are at play, and it’s always best to work with a personal injury attorney who will know what’s fair, low, and high for a personal injury settlement.

After all, a personal injury can disrupt your daily life from your career to your hobbies, and it includes medical treatments, time off work, and medical bills. A good settlement offer covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other associated bills.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an insurance company to offer a low settlement offer. While a low offer is more than nothing, the type of offer may not even cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses. If you’re not working with an attorney when you receive a settlement offer, it may be time to do so to know the best next steps.

Why Would an Insurance Company Give Me a Low Settlement Offer?

First and foremost, an insurance company is a business. They have their own set of goals; which, while they are meant to protect and cover expenses for their insurees, it can also mean that they’ll prioritize their goals over your needs. An insurance company wants to make more profit too.

Sometimes a low offer is a gimmick to get you to go away, and sometimes, it’s an honest mistake where a calculation was overlooked. The insurance company may seem to have all the power in this situation, but that’s not necessarily the case. Accepting a low offer may be leaving a large amount of money on the table.

What Other Factors Affect an Insurance Settlement Offer?

When an insurance claim is submitted, a chain reaction occurs. An insurance adjuster will take note of your calculations and information, building out their own calculation to determine what they believe your claim is worth. Value changes to the calculations are based on a variety of factors.

Insurance Claim Factors:

  • Shared liability for the injury
  • Excessive testing or treatments for injury
  • Pre-existing condition
  • Failure to follow doctor’s orders
  • Delayed treatment resulting in worsening injuries
  • Missed work days not justified

Insurance adjusters have a job of being highly skeptical and analytical of injury claims. After all, insurance companies are required to cover reasonable medical expenses, and an adjuster is going to see if your injury meets those expectations.

Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash or a sprain will face a more critical eye whereas an injury that receives medical treatments from a medical physician, opposed to a chiropractor, will be viewed with more validity. Another aspect to be aware of are doctors who run up unnecessary medical tests or expenses. If an adjuster rules this to be the case, you’ll be paying those expenses out of pocket.

Every Insurance Policy Faces Certain Limits

When you or a company purchases insurance, that insurance policy only covers a certain level of compensation for injuries, tragedies, and other problems. Most companies will not pay more than their liability policy limit. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what the policy limit is and to understand the ins and outs of the policy alongside the claim.

When Do I Reject an Insurance Settlement Offer for a Personal Injury?

First of all, start a conversation with your personal injury attorney to discuss the situation, the offer, and options for a counter offer. Rejecting an insurance settlement offer closes that offer, and you won’t be able to change your mind later to accept it. Once you and your attorney determine to reject a settlement offer, a counteroffer needs to be submitted.

The rejection letter of the insurance company settlement offer will need to present solid evidence and reasoning for why the original low settlement offer was rejected. Your counteroffer will also need to include reasons as to why it’s a more reasonable offer in light of the injury claim. Relevant evidence includes receipts for bills, expenses, and lost wages.

Once your rejection letter and counteroffer are sent, the insurance company will have to evaluate and determine their response.

How Do I Respond to a “Take It or Leave It” Insurance Settlement Offer?

Sometimes, an insurance company will lay down an ultimatum: you either take it or leave it. This truly complicates the situation, especially if you’re certain that your claim has legal reasoning and the ability to stand up under further inspection. Insurance companies who suspect that you are desperate for cash or dealing with too many overwhelming circumstances will try to force you into accepting.

When you’re put in a situation like this, it’s important to be working with a personal injury lawyer who’s seen many insurance claims. The next steps are determined by individual situations; however, a good rule of thumb is to take lots of detailed notes about every interaction with the insurance company, adjuster, or representative.

When Can I Request a New Insurance Adjuster?

Although rare, the insurance claims adjuster may refuse to negotiate when you submit your rejection of their first offer. This is sometimes a part of the “take it or leave it” move that insurance companies use. Some insurance adjusters may use something called “bad faith negotiation tactics.”

Insurance adjusters are required to not take sides when it comes to the claim, the injured party, and the insurance company. However, this does happen. Keep an eye and note on every interaction, and if you have evidence of their bad faith tactics, you may be able to request a new adjuster.

When Can I Take My Insurance Company Claim to Court?

One of the last options available when you’ve rejected an insurance offer and you’re still trying to receive reasonable compensation is to file a lawsuit. Sometimes a judge or jury intervention can benefit you, but other times, they may decide that the party who caused your injuries is not to blame. Therefore, speak with an attorney before filing a claim for a lawsuit.

A lawsuit can be time-intensive, requiring more evidence to support your claim, and be held up by the legal system’s timeline. Sometimes, a lawsuit is enough to encourage the insurance company to return to negotiations in order to settle the problem outside of the courtroom. It should also be noted that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years.

At Carrillo Injury Law, we work hard to ensure that you receive every one of your rights, especially when it comes to injury. Reach out to today to find out what legal solutions are available to you.