In the wake of a traffic collision, dealing with insurance carriers to get the compensation you deserve is inevitable. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be eligible to receive a significant amount of money.
When auto insurance carriers know their policyholder is liable for an accident, they know they will have to pay a claim. Insurance companies do not stay in business by paying the full amount of every claim that comes their way. Instead, they try to minimize financial liability.
If an insurance adjuster thinks the company can get away with not paying the claim, they may drag out the process by refusing to settle for a reasonable amount. This forces injured victims to do one of two things: give up or file a lawsuit.
Accident victims who are being given a settlement offer early on in the process may feel relieved that they aren’t caught in this frustrating trap, but they need to be wary. When an insurance carrier tries to pressure you into accepting an early settlement offer, it’s usually because the adjuster has realized the company will likely have to pay a large settlement or jury award.
If the insurance adjuster can convince you to accept this fast settlement, the company can avoid paying the full amount of money you deserve. Unfortunately, many accident victims unknowingly make this tactic easy for the insurance company to pull off.
After a car accident, you want compensation as soon as possible to pay for the medical bills that have piled up and to make up for the income you lost from missing work due to your injuries. The insurance company hopes you feel economically desperate enough to sign on the dotted line and agree to accept less money now instead of holding out for more money later.
When insurance companies make early settlement offers, they are typically lowball offers and are much less than what you deserve. Our fierce car accident lawyers can help you avoid falling for these lowball settlement offers, so you get every penny you deserve for the losses related to your injuries.
Never Accept the First Settlement Offer from an Insurance Carrier
Insurance companies lead with lowball settlement offers, fully expecting that you will want more compensation for your injuries. If you accept this settlement, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Throughout the entire settlement process, the insurance company will do everything they can to convince you that you do not deserve the full value of your claim. Don’t fall for these tactics. You deserve full and fair compensation to move on with your life after suffering car accident injuries.
Early settlement offers prey on those who are financially distressed in the aftermath of a car accident. The problem is that accepting a lowball settlement means waiving your right to seek any future compensation for injuries related to the accident.
If you receive an early lowball offer, it’s likely you are still undergoing medical treatment and are unsure about your long-term prognosis. Will you need surgery? Will you have a permanent disability? Will you be able to return to work?
Suppose that, after accepting their offer, you do not make a full recovery, you end up needing surgery, or you cannot return to work. You will have no legal recourse to pursue additional compensation. Your acceptance of the early settlement offer has released the insurance company from liability, so the insurer will never reopen your claim.
Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Avoid Financial Liability
You can expect the insurance carrier involved with your auto accident claim to use a wide range of strategies to avoid some or all financial liability for losses related to the accident and your injuries. The following tactics are examples of reasons the insurance company may use to justify their lowball settlement offer and pressure you to accept their offer.
1: Questioning Your Claim
Insurance companies sometimes like to present lowball offers as if they are doing a favor for injured accident victims. They question your right to file a claim and argue that their policyholder was not negligent, so they really do not have to give you a dime. Then they offer to “give” you an insultingly low settlement – supposedly, out of the goodness of their heart. They pressure you to accept that lowball amount and forget about receiving more compensation.
Another way an insurance carrier might call your claim into question is by arguing that you are partially to blame for the accident that led to your injuries. They might claim you were distracted and didn’t react appropriately to avoid a collision, or that you – not their policyholder – were the one breaking traffic safety laws. Ultimately, the carrier is trying to shift as much of the blame to you as possible, so they can limit their payout and make their insulting offer look better.
2: Downplaying Your Injuries
As you go through the claims process, the insurance company will get its hands on copies of your medical records at some point. They will examine these records and find every way possible to argue that your injuries simply are not as severe as you claim – and that you’re not entitled to that much compensation.
The insurance company may also claim that you received treatment for your accident injuries that was unreasonable, unrelated to your accident injuries, or unnecessary.
Downplaying your accident injuries also devalues the amount of compensation you should receive for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages. Placing a monetary value on pain and suffering is difficult in the first place. You can be sure the insurance company will argue that your pain is not that bad and that you do not deserve compensation.
3: Arguing That You Have Pre-Existing Injuries
When insurance carriers gain access to your medical records, they may latch onto any previous injury in your medical history. They are only responsible for damages that stemmed from the car accident – so they want to argue that your current injuries are unrelated to the crash. To this end, the insurance company may suggest that your injuries occurred at an earlier time and date.
Don’t fall for it – even if there’s some truth to this notion that pre-existing injuries are part of the problem. If you do have previous injuries that were aggravated as a result of the traffic accident, the law still requires that the insurance company compensate you.
Let an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Review Your Lowball Offer
Regardless of how stressed out and overwhelmed you might feel because of the economic consequences of a car accident, do not let an insurance carrier take advantage of you with a predatory offer that is far less than the true value of your claim. Instead, consult with an auto accident lawyer who can review your claim and build the strongest case possible against the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier.
It costs nothing to speak to an attorney and find out, during a free consultation, if the offer you’ve received is fair or if it’s just another lowball settlement offer.