Car accidents can be more expensive than you would expect. While you might prepare for the cost of vehicle damage, you might not be ready for the medical bills. If you were injured in an accident then medical costs can really add up. On top of that you will need to miss work and miss the accompanying wages. You will need an adequate settlement offer from the insurance company to cover these costs. If you are surprised by a low offer then you will need to take some important steps to get the coverage that you need.
First ask yourself three questions
In order to respond to a low offer you will need to first analyze why they sent you the particular dollar amount. Find out what lead the insurer to come to this amount. Ask yourself three questions to get a better idea:
1. Do they have all the necessary information?
2. Were you negligent in the accident?
3. Is this a negotiation tactic?
Next analyze your answers
Once you have thought about their offer then consider your responses. This will dictate the outcome of your counteroffer.
1. If they do not have all the information to make an adequate offer then you will want to gather any related documentation. Gather your medical bills, any photos of the accident you might have and repair estimates.
2. If you were negligent then consider if the offer is adequate. If you caused the accident then they could have a strong case against you. If you were partially at fault then you can still negotiate for a better offer, but you will need to prove your case.
3. If the low offer is a negotiation tactic then you will have more room to push them for a better settlement. This would be a good time to contact an attorney to help you with the next step.
Send a counteroffer letter
You and your attorney can draft a counteroffer letter together. If you found additional information to send the insurance company then include all accompanying documents with your printed letter. You should explain why you require a more adequate offer. If you were injured in the accident then explain the injury and how it impacted your life. Discuss missed work and any physical or emotional suffering that you have endured. If the injury has caused a lasting disability then that will have a major impact on their offer.
Give the insurance company an actual number rather than a simple denial. Although they might not accept your initial counteroffer it will bring them closer to the amount that you are looking for. It could take a couple letters and phone calls but you will be able to reach a settlement that you are both happy with. Typically insurance companies anticipate these negotiation steps and are willing to go up on their initial number. If not, you might need to consider taking them to court in a personal injury lawsuit.