Receiving a fair settlement from an auto insurance company is never a one-step procedure. In fact, most fair settlements are the result of constant back-and-forth negotiations between the injured and the insurance claims adjusters. If you have received a seemingly unfair accident settlement, you are not required to accept that settlement. It is in your best interest to first speak with an accident attorney to determine what you may be entitled to, and to get assistance in your negotiations with insurance adjusters.
How Settlements Work
An accident settlement is the result of a claim filed with an insurance company, whether it is the at-fault driver or the victim’s insurance carrier. The claim is handled by an in-house insurance claims adjuster. This adjuster is provided with the information regarding the accident and they return with a settlement amount based on that information. Sometimes these offers are based on strict formulas employed by the insurance company, and they are almost always lower than they should be.
Assessing the Offer
Before rejecting the first offer, an accident victim and attorney must first determine a fair amount and then compare that amount to what insurance adjusters are offering. Having a fair dollar value for a claim is important because it allows victims to see whether or not they are being fully compensated.
Third party liability claims filed against the other driver’s insurance policy – which cover losses like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage – are calculated by an accident attorney. The attorney will account for past, current, and future expenses to come to a “fair” settlement amount.
Determining whether or not a settlement offer is fair is complicated. Insurance companies often have thorough defenses, and they may attempt to put the accident victim partially at fault for their injuries. This is especially true when liability is not straightforward.
Rejecting and Responding to an Unfair Offer
If the victim and the attorney decide that the first settlement offer is too low, then the settlement is rejected and the attorney will begin negotiating with the adjuster for a higher settlement amount. An attorney must use all facts provided, such as paid medical bills and statements from medical providers, to prove that the victim deserves a higher settlement amount.
Negotiations may continue between the insurance company and attorney after a counter offer. In most cases, insurance companies will come back with a higher settlement offer – as long as the demands of the attorney and victim are not unreasonable – which may still be lower than what is fair.
Asking Amount versus Fair Amount
The amount an attorney requests in an initial claim is not the “bottom” settlement they are willing to accept. As with any negotiation, an attorney will use the higher settlement expectation to open the doors for negotiation in hopes that the insurance adjuster will come back with an offer in between their lowest and highest settlement expectations. It is important that an accident victim discusses settlement amounts with their attorney, and also gets a clear understanding of what is “fair” regarding their case.
Has an Insurance Adjuster Offered You an Unfair Settlement? Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Insurance adjusters statistically offer less in settlement value to victims working without an attorney. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Daytona Beach personal injury lawyers Vasilaros | Wagner today to discuss your case and settlement. Schedule a free consultation by calling 386-777-7777 today, or fill out an online contact form.