How to Respond to a Low Settlement Offer

If you are in the process of negotiating a personal injury settlement, there will likely come a time when the adjuster makes you a settlement offer. Oftentimes, this offer will be surprisingly low and less than you deserve. You have the right to decline it and seek a better offer, or even file a lawsuit. Here is some advice on how to craft your response.

Take Your Time and Analyze the Offer

Getting emotional and rejecting or accepting a low offer without proper analysis is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Take some time to cool down, as this offer is typically only a starting point for settlement negotiations. Once you can calmly perform an analysis of the offer, consider the following:

  • How far does the offer deviate from your demand?
  • How strong is your case?
  • How strong is the defense?
  • How easy will it be to collect the judgment if you go to court?

Figuring out why the adjuster is making a low offer will help you understand their thought process, so that you can formulate your counter-offer. A personal injury lawyer can help you analyze the offer and find out more information on how they arrived at that figure, before you make a final decision.

Counter in Writing

Respond to the adjuster’s offer in writing, whether you are accepting or declining it. A written response is even more valuable if you are declining and countering the low offer. It will serve as a formal notice to the insurance company that you are serious and will move to the next phase by filing a lawsuit if they don’t increase the settlement amount. However, it’s never a good idea to counter with an unreasonably-high figure. Include your reasons for declining the offer, as well as how you arrived at the amount you feel you deserve. It’s important to maintain a professional and detailed approach as the counteroffers go back and forth, and until a fair agreement is reached.

Wait to Settle Until You’re Healed

It is in your best interest not to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company before you have fully healed, or a doctor states that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). It is the only way to fully understand the extent of your injuries and how your life will be impacted in the future. Once you accept a settlement offer by signing a release of liability, there are no options for pursuing additional compensation from that insurer.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Insurance adjusters spend years learning tactics that allow them to devalue or deny claims instead of paying out. A lawyer has the experience to effectively negotiate on your behalf and advise you throughout the entire claims process. Including what information you should or should not give to an insurer, because it can be used against you. Additionally, a lawyer will accurately estimate your expenses, ensuring that the payment you settle for will fully cover your losses.

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