How to Counter the First Car Insurance Offer in Houston
A victim of a car accident will have quite the road ahead of them as they aim to claim the compensation they deserve and may need just to be able to return to some semblance of a normal life. Unfortunately, much of this has to do with the fact that the insurance company, which should be interested in the well-being of the victim, is more interested in minimizing what they have to pay out.
This will often mean that when the settlement negotiations start, the first offer that the insurance adjuster offers will be very low. A seasoned personal injury lawyer expects this, and to be honest, so does the claims adjuster.
So what is the right way to counter after a car insurance company has put out its first offer, which is too low? The information below will give you the insights you need!
What Will the Car Insurance Company's First Offer Typically Look Like?
First, it's a good idea to understand how this offer comes about. When you file your personal injury claim, it's the responsibility of the auto insurance company covering the at-fault driver (provided they have the right coverage) to ensure that the expenses are taken care of.
This will include medical treatment, property damage, lost income, etc. Note that there are cases where your coverage may mean that the offer will come from your insurance company, but even so, it may still be much lower than what you're entitled to.
You would think that your insurance policy would mean that the company would want to give you a fair settlement, but even it is more concerned with not having to pay out too much money.
The other essential thing to note is when this car insurance settlement attempt will come. You will often find that the offer is made very quickly, and it's not because the company wants you taken care of as quickly as possible.
Earlier offers mean the real extent of the damage is not known, so even assessing what would constitute "fair value" would be difficult. Bear in mind that though it can feel risky to reject the offer, it is rarely the last one you'll get.
Here's Why Accepting the First Settlement Offer Is Typically Not Recommended
Based on everything said above, you can infer what the insurance provider will be trying to do. It boils down to trying to get you to effectively pipe down, take what you're given, and go away. You had best believe, therefore, that the minimum effort required to do exactly that is what you will receive.
Unfortunately, many victims have no concept of what a fair offer is meaning that they are willing to accept what sounds like a lot of money, only to later realize they were swindled when they can't cover the real expenses when they start to add up.
This is why retaining serious injury attorneys in Houston is always recommended. Remember too that even medical professionals will often need time to understand the extent of injuries. Settling too soon can rob you of what is truly owed since there will often be clauses built in that an acceptance means not being able to claim again in the future.
Do You Need to Be Worried About Rejecting the Offer?
This can be mind-numbing to worry about. If you reject the company's offer, what happens if they pull it and choose not to negotiate any further? Did you just give up any chance you have at getting compensated for your car accident claim? Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will advise how to negotiate an injury related insurance settlement.
That is most certainly not the case. Car accident settlement proceedings are not straightforward. There are a lot of mind games and legalities that go into it.
One certain thing is that you need to reject this low offer for the process of negotiation, which is usually fruitful to really get going.
What to Do Thereafter
So you've decided that you're going to reject the initial car accident settlement offer. How do you go about that and what should you expect to happen next? Here's a high-level overview of what will follow.
Send Your Demand Letter
Essentially, the demand letter allows you to put your side of the story forward. Here, you're going to be speaking about how the accident happened, how your life has been impacted, the medical bills you're now dealing with, and more.
When to Accept the Settlement Offer
The idea is to try to secure a settlement offer that is within the ballpark of the full value of your car accident claim, provided you know what that figure is. Be that as it may, you'll also want to ensure you check a couple of other essential boxes:
You've completed the necessary course of medical care in conjunction with injuries you sustained from the car accident
You understand the scope of the damages you've suffered, beyond the economic elements that are more easily calculable. This will include loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, etc.
You know the extent of insurance coverage that both parties have that applies to the damages that you have suffered
You have an idea of what you're willing to accept, even if it isn't exactly what would be counted as fair compensation.
Only after meeting all these requirements should you even consider accepting an offer.
Making the Counteroffer
A part of your demand letter indicates what you think may be a reasonable offer instead of the one that was put on the table. Of course, you will need to ensure that your supporting documentation and arguments for why you think you deserve what you are requesting are accurate.
Typically, the adjuster and the victim will exchange letters, phone calls, and other correspondence. The victim will typically try to increase the figure while the adjuster does the opposite.
Eventually, a final figure is reached that both sides agree on, the victim signs a release of liability, and the insurance company will prepare the check.
Of course, this may also end up as a personal injury lawsuit that goes to trial if no agreement can be reached.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Proven Car Accident Lawyer Today!
Insurance companies don't make settlement negotiations easy, considering they do everything they possibly can to deny victims what they rightfully deserve.
If you've been injured in a car accident, don't face these companies alone. Reach out to a professional Houston attorney at Schuerger Shunnarah for a free consultation!