Low Settlement Offer
Following a Boston auto accident, those involved may be left with serious injuries and a substantial financial burden. Those who were not at fault for the accident may be entitled to compensation above and beyond their personal injury protection (PIP) benefit limits. This is typically achieved through settlement negotiations.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, we understand well the policies and strategies that insurance companies employ to minimize payouts and reduce their liability. Despite their catchy slogans and slick marketing campaigns, these companies are not “on your side.”
Although most insurers deny that issuing low settlement offers is standard procedure in the early phases of negotiation, it is very common for auto claims adjusters to respond to demand letters for compensation with unreasonable counteroffers.
In some cases, low settlement offers can constitute an act of bad faith. It’s important to speak with an experienced Boston car accident lawyer to know whether the insurance company has crossed this line, as it may entitle you to additional damages.
Our experienced legal team works to carefully analyze the full value of each claim by combing through evidence such:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Damage estimates
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Physician letters
- Proof of earnings
- Any evidence of the reduced quality of life
This information can be effectively used in talks with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement. Although not every claim requires full-on legal intervention, it can be helpful to at least meet with a lawyer on an hourly basis to determine whether additional assistance will be needed.
While a car accident lawsuit can be filed if negotiations break down, most claims – even after that point – are still settled prior to trial. Many who have endured know the wait can be arduous, stressful and time-consuming. For those who have never been down this road, it can seem like a nightmare, especially when there are mounting medical bills and injuries have prevented a return to work.
We’re here to help. We know insurance company tactics. We know the commonality of low-ball offers. We know how to effectively counter them. You do not have to navigate this system alone.Understanding the Claims Process
In most personal injury cases stemming from a crash, the claims process will start with information-gathering. This will be done by the claimant, but the insurance company’s claims adjustor will be launching a formal investigation too.
This process will involve:
- Hearing from the insured what happened.
- Investigating the plaintiff/claimant (prior personal injury claims, credibility issues, etc.).
- Requesting documentation of the claim, including those medical records, police reports and other documentation that is deemed relevant.
- Carefully reviewing all collected data.
- Closely reviewing the applicable insurance policy for any exclusions or loopholes.
- Using computer software to help analyze the hard data (bills, wage losses, etc.)
- Determining a settlement value.
In determining a settlement value, an adjustor is going to consider:
- Plaintiff’s odds of winning a case at trial (if a lawsuit is filed)
- How much a jury might award the plaintiff for his/her damages
All of this will likely be going on before your submission of a demand letter, and the process will be simultaneous when there is more than one insurance company involved. In cases involving multiple insurance companies and policies, it is advisable to speak with an attorney to ensure full recovery from all plans.
Meanwhile, it will be up to the claimant to issue a demand letter outlining:
- Why the other driver was legally responsible
- The full extent of injuries
- The type and cost of medical treatment
- Details regarding income loss
- Other damages suffered
This letter will conclude with a lump sum figure to settle the claim. Insurers will use this figure and compare it with the information they have collected and the value they have placed on the claim.
Occasionally, insurance companies will offer a fair settlement or one for policy limits up front. This is not the norm, but it does happen and claimants need to be careful not to reject reasonable offers outright. Knowing what is reasonable and what isn’t, however, is not always an easy task, which is where advice from a personal injury lawyer can be helpful.
More often than not, though, the initial settlement offer will be unreasonably low. Most adjustors have an “authority,” which is a top dollar figure they can offer, per their supervisor. However, you are unlikely to be told of this amount. Instead, the adjuster will try to get you to settle for much less. In fact, some insurance companies even offer bonuses and other perks to adjustors who regularly secure agreements for low settlement amounts.
Your injury attorney will work from this figure to issue a counteroffer. In more complex cases (i.e., the fault is in dispute, damages are in dispute, causation of injuries are in dispute), it’s probable the back-and-forth of this process will be extensive.
Recognize that adjustors usually do not accept that first offer. The main purpose of a low offer is to move forward the negotiation process. Let us help you do just that in a way that will improve your chances for favorable results.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL