Being involved in an accident that leads to a significant injury can be devastating. Apart from the physical and mental harm that comes along with the injury, you may end up racking up huge medical bills that put an enormous strain on your finances. What’s more, you may have to deal with an insurance company that doesn’t have your best interest at heart, in order to get the settlement, you need to be compensated for your injuries.
However, one of the most devastating experiences arises when you receive a low settlement offer that doesn’t compensate you adequately for your losses caused by the accident. While this may be stressful, there are certain things you can do to handle a low settlement offer in California and ensure you obtain the amount of compensation you deserve. Fortunately, an attorney at the Attorney Jeff law firm has the right skills and experience to handle a low settlement offer in your personal injury lawsuit, thus ensuring you obtain a successful outcome.
Here is an explanation of some of the best ways to handle a low settlement offer in California and how an attorney can help you.
What Is a Settlement Offer?
Put simply, a settlement offer is an amount that an injured person receives from the insurance company or the at-fault person after establishing a valid claim. Typically, a settlement involves negotiations between the plaintiff and the defendant’s attorney, who aim to avoid the complex litigation process.
However, most defendants may attempt to use a settlement to avoid paying huge costs, which they believe they are likely to if the case is litigated.
What Is Considered a Low Settlement Offer in a California Personal Injury Claim?
A low settlement offer denotes a settlement that a plaintiff receives and believes is insufficient to compensate them for the losses incurred due to the injuries sustained. In simpler terms, a low settlement offer is an amount that doesn’t reflect the amount needed to recover losses and avoid any financial strains in the future.
How Can You Respond to a Low Settlement Offer?
Dealing with an insurance company is one of the most difficult aspects of a personal injury claim in California. As such, independent claimants who choose to deal with the insurance company on their own often have a hard time arriving at an amicable settlement.
Although it is possible to handle the insurance company independently, working with an experienced attorney in California would be best.
That said, if you receive a low settlement offer, you and your attorney can take the following steps to ensure you obtain the settlement you deserve:
1. Remain Calm and Analyze the Offer
Although a low settlement offer can be unsettling, it is imperative to remain calm and professional. It is never a good idea to respond emotionally since you may end up making significant mistakes that may harm your ability to renegotiate with the insurance company. What’s more, it is advisable not to accept the offer since this could also harm your claim.
In essence, it is always a good idea to remain polite and speak to a personal injury attorney who can help deal with the insurance company on your behalf. Remember, a low settlement offer is the starting point of renegotiation, and it is the lowest amount the insurance company can get away with.
2. Ask Questions
Another crucial step to take following a low settlement offer is to seek further clarification from the insurance company. Oftentimes this takes the form of questions. For instance, you may need to find out why the insurance company adjuster evaluated your claim the way they did. As such, you’ll need to call or email them asking these specific questions.
Once you receive a response from the insurance adjuster, you will be in a position to make an informed decision in terms of an appropriate step to take when entering into a renegotiation.
3. Present the Facts
Once you receive the reasons underlying the low settlement offer, you need to gather all the relevant documents and evidence to support your claim. For instance, it would be best to have all this paperwork ready if you received a low settlement since some critical information was missing or the information provided was not enough.
Essentially, having the paperwork that backs up the amount you believe is necessary to cover your losses would make it difficult for the insurance company to send you a low settlement offer—as such, presenting these facts and a paper trail would eventually lead to a better settlement offer.
4. Develop a Counter Offer
After going through all the relevant documents and reviewing the offer from the insurance company adjusters, your attorney can help you develop a counter offer. A counteroffer will include any other losses you may have suffered due to the accident or injury.
Noteworthy is that your attorney may need to develop a couple of counteroffers until they receive an offer that matches the amount needed to cover your losses. However, if a fair settlement isn’t reached during renegotiation, you may have to use the judicial system.
5. Respond in Writing
Once presented with a low offer, it is imperative to have an attorney draft a demand letter that notifies the insurance company adjusters that you are rejecting the offer. The letter should point out faulty assumptions made by the insurance company that led to the low offer. The letter should also include pertinent details and information that were left out initially.
6. Don’t Settle Until You Receive a Good Offer
It would be best not to settle unless you receive a good offer. Although there may be a lot of counteroffers made and negotiations, it would help to keep pushing until you receive a fair and reasonable amount.
A settlement offer is a binding contract. As such, once you accept the settlement offer, you are not at liberty to go back and claim that you need to re-do or “review” the decision made.
For this reason, it is imperative to have a personal injury attorney by your side throughout the process to assist you when negotiating a settlement.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney in California Help?
Dealing with insurance company adjusters can be hectic. For this reason, you need a qualified and competent personal injury attorney. Essentially, an attorney levels the playground and sets out to safeguard your rights and interests throughout the claim process.
If you receive a low settlement offer, an attorney with extensive negotiation skills will essentially help you negotiate your personal injury claim.
Apart from negotiating on your behalf, an attorney understands the law and knows what is needed to ensure that your claim is successful. In the event of an unsuccessful counteroffer, your attorney may advise you to proceed to court in order to ensure that you receive a fair and reasonable amount.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in California
If you or your loved one received a low settlement offer in California, it is important to have a competent and qualified personal injury attorney by your side. Contact AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What leads to a low settlement offer?
There are multiple reasons which contribute to a low settlement offer in California. Some of the common causes of a low settlement offer are:
- The adjuster doesn’t have all the pertinent information, such as medical records
- There wasn’t a lot of damage to your vehicle
- You had unexplained gaps in your medical treatment
- You have pre-existing injuries to some parts of the body that were affected by the accident
What should be included in an adequate settlement offer?
An adequate settlement offer addresses all the fundamental issues and typically covers your economic and non-economic damages. It covers all the losses incurred by the victim.