In Atlanta, car accident victims are entitled to compensation (settlement sum) from the fault party. The fault party’s insurance carrier handles the negotiation with the victim and offers them the settlement sum. Sometimes, and more often than not, insurance companies provide a low settlement offer to the victim.
While the amount is justifiable in some instances, it isn’t in others. Thus, it is crucial for Atlanta accident victims to know how to respond when faced with a low settlement sum. If you get a low settlement offer, our Atlanta car accident lawyers can represent you and get maximum compensation.
Why Do Insurance Companies Make Low Settlement Offers?
Indeed, insurance companies are always after their bottom line, which affects compensation sums. However, there are times when they have valid reasons for offering you a low settlement sum. One of such reasons is the lack of inadequate information like medical bills and records of other damages.
This is why you must ensure the insurance adjuster has all the information they need while investigating your accident. If you find that the offer you got was based on incomplete information, provide the adjuster with additional information to redo the offer. Another reason for a low settlement offer is if you didn’t suffer severe injuries or extensive property damage.
Here, a person with catastrophic injuries or whose car gets totaled would get a higher offer than someone with minor wounds and a fender bender. If a person with catastrophic wounds gets a low settlement offer, then it is clear the insurance company is acting in bad faith. Your Atlanta injury attorney can reject the offer at this point and file a lawsuit.
Furthermore, the insurance adjuster can make a low offer if a pre-existing health condition escalated your injuries. In addition, unexplained gaps in your medical history can also get you a low-ball settlement. The only way to combat the two is by disproving that the existing condition worsened your injuries and filling in the missing gaps.
How Do You Respond to a Low Settlement Offer?
Getting a low settlement offer when you expect more can anger you and make you take the wrong steps. You should keep your cool and take the following steps to get what you deserve:
Analyze the Offer
Getting hot-headed and emotional will not help you get the settlement you deserve. As such, you need to maintain a level head and analyze the offer. Go through it with a fine-tooth comb, and note the reasons why the fault party’s insurer sent such an offer.
Also, if the low settlement sum is the first offer you’re getting, it means the insurance company is testing the water. They are looking to see if you will cave in or negotiate for more. So, at this point, you have to take this next step.
Once you’ve analyzed the offer, it’s time to ask questions. Find out if it’s the last offer, and there’s room for negotiations, or if it’s the only offer you’ll receive from the insurer. If it’s the latter, ask the insurance adjuster why they made a low settlement offer. You can ask for a breakdown.
The adjuster is obligated to give you the reason for the low-ball sum. Note their response and use it in your counter-response. If, for instance, they cite insufficient evidence, provide them with more facts. When asking questions, you can do so in person or respond in writing.
Create a Counteroffer
When faced with a low settlement offer, you have to come up with another, but it must be within reason. It simply means that you cannot counter with an unreasonable high sum. You need to consider the amount you think you deserve and make an offer between that sum and what the insurer offered.
For example, the insurance adjuster offered you $20,00o, but you feel you deserve $40,000. Since the offer came after the adjuster considered the limit of the fault party’s coverage, a good counteroffer would be between $30,000 and $35,000.
Don’t Settle Until You Heal Completely
If you received the low settlement offer while still undergoing treatment, do not accept it. Wait until you’re fully healed and have tallied the cost of treatment before accepting an offer. This way, you do not cheat yourself, and you get what you deserve.
Get Help From an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer!
If you commence an insurance claim without a lawyer, you’ll likely get a low settlement offer. But with an expert auto accident attorney from The Weinstein Firm, you can be sure you’ll get the maximum compensation. Let us help you get what you deserve by scheduling a free consultation with us today.