In most personal injury cases, both sides will attempt to agree on a settlement before going to trial. This is because a settlement will save time and money and, in many cases, is mutually beneficial. After all the medical information and bills have been collected and shared, it is normally time to make a settlement offer. In almost all cases, the insurance adjuster will not accept your first offer. He will send a counter-offer, and that’s when the negotiating begins.
It is not uncommon for a plaintiff to receive a very low counter offer. In this situation, you must know the right way to respond, so that you can still get the type of settlement you want and can avoid going to trial. An experienced personal injury lawyer, like one of the many at Bighorn Law, will help you determine what an acceptable settlement looks like and will also help you negotiate with the insurer.
Don’t Take Things Personally
It is natural to get angry when you are presented with an unfairly low offer, but you must remember that this is just business. According to InjuryClaimCoach.com, the adjuster expects you to reject their initial offer, but they will still offer a very low amount because it might help in lowering the final agreement. There is also a small chance that you accept their lowball offer, so they have no reason not to offer a very low number at the start. It is their job to keep the settlement as small as possible, and they are only doing their job.
Respond Before Rejecting
AllLaw.com suggests that you ask them questions about their offer first before you send a letter rejecting it. The insurance adjuster may say they are offering you a low settlement because the medical files are incomplete. If they say this, ask them what files they still want to see. They may also argue in their offer that you have a greater level of liability than you admit or that your injuries are exaggerated. Ask them questions about their offer and confirm their reasoning behind it.
Send a Rejection Letter
Once you have asked questions and gotten responses, it is time to write a rejection letter. Your rejection letter should continue to be professional and not include any personal attacks. In this letter, specifically address and refute their reasons for the low offer. Include any paperwork that they say they are lacking. Refute their argument that you are liable and provide evidence and support. If they say your injuries are exaggerated, provide further medical evidence that they are not. Finally, offer a new settlement offer between the two initial offers.
At this point, the negotiation process may continue to go back and forth for quite some time, but the first response is most important. It sets the tone for the negotiations and shows the adjuster that you know what you are doing. In these situations it always pays to work with a personal injury lawyer. Our associates at Bighorn Law can negotiate alongside you and make sure that the insurer pays out what you deserve.