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Car Accidents

Do I Have the Right to Refuse the Insurance Company’s Offer?

By February 17, 2024March 6th, 2024No Comments

After a car accident, you will probably submit a claim to your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Waiting to find out if the insurance company will accept and offer a settlement can cause a lot of stress.

This article explains various aspects of the auto insurance claim process, including your options when the company offers. If you have questions, speak to an experienced Redding car accident lawyer today.

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The Auto Insurance Company’s First Offer

Do I Have the Right to Refuse the Insurance Company’s OfferAssuming the other driver caused the accident, you may have submitted a claim to their auto insurance company. The insurance adjuster will review your medical bills, property damage, and other losses and usually make an initial offer.

Suppose you file a claim for a serious auto accident, and the insurance company makes a very low first offer. You aren’t obligated to take that offer. Insurance adjusters are skilled at reviewing damages and injuries and making settlement offers. But their initial offer may be a lowball one that doesn’t reflect the full amount of your damages and losses.

You and your attorney have the right to review the insurance settlement offer, and if you think it’s inadequate, you can reject it. Rejecting an insurance offer doesn’t mean that settlement negotiations have ended. Rather, this is a routine part of many car accident claims and is just one part of the process. Your attorney can handle insurance negotiations for you and often get a better settlement offer faster than you can.

If you are handling your own insurance negotiations and are unhappy with an initial offer, you can always bring in an attorney. Just review all settlement offers with your attorney before signing anything.

Why Would You Reject An Insurance Settlement Offer?

There are many legitimate reasons to reject a settlement offer the insurance company makes after a car accident:

  • The offer is too low: Most commonly, the insurance company’s initial offer is too low. It may be insufficient to cover your current or future medical bills, lost earnings, lost ability to earn in the future, and pain and suffering. You can be stuck paying for your losses out of pocket without a sufficient settlement.
  • Liability disagreement: The insurance company may dispute that their client caused the car accident. So, they can offer you a far too low amount, such as when they claim you were partially at fault.
  • Future costs: You may have medical bills now, but serious injuries also often require medical care months and years into the future. The insurer’s offer may not accurately reflect your future medical costs. If you have serious injuries, you should rely on your auto accident attorney to determine what your future medical costs will be.
  • Uncertainty: You may not have a full understanding of your losses yet. For example, you might not have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • Higher expectations: You and your attorney may think your case is worth more and hold out.
  • Low compensation for property damage: The insurance company may offer a low amount for your totaled vehicle. You can use various online vehicle evaluation websites to argue for money.

Many initial insurance settlement offers are too low; you should expect it as part of the process so you aren’t disappointed. But don’t worry: With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you still can receive fair compensation for your losses.

What if You Reject the First Offer?

When you reject the auto insurance adjuster’s first offer, you can expect one of several things to occur.

They are:

  • Continued negotiations: The first settlement offer is often just the first part of the negotiation process. Most insurance adjusters will offer a low initial offer to see if you’ll take it. They may be testing to see if an attorney is advising you. If not, you may not understand the full value of the case. Many car accident victims think they should only ask for current medical expense compensation, but they may be entitled to much more. If you don’t take their offer, negotiations usually continue.
  • Potential counteroffers: The insurance company may review the case again and offer higher. There can be a back-and-forth for several weeks where the insurance company makes various offers for your review.
  • New insurance adjuster: If negotiations break down, you can ask for a new insurance adjuster. Some adjusters may be more confrontational and difficult or display unreasonable behavior. If so, you can ask for another adjuster to kick-start negotiations.
  • Lawsuit: If you and the insurance company cannot agree on a settlement figure, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. Most cases end in a settlement, but going to court may be needed if the adjuster makes far too low offers.

Your attorney will provide regular feedback about settlement negotiations and whether you should settle, continue negotiations, or file a lawsuit. The decision is ultimately yours. However, your attorney is experienced in claims and lawsuits and has a feel for how much your claim is worth.

Whether to settle or sue also depends on how much you need the money. Many accident victims suffered severe injuries and were out of work. Getting a smaller sum of money today in a settlement can be preferable to getting potentially more in months or years after a lawsuit.

Remember, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win in court. This is why most accident injury victims ultimately settle after negotiating with the insurance company. But you should always reject the initial settlement offer because it is almost always a test to see if you’ll settle quickly. Most insurance companies are prepared to pay more than the initial settlement offer.

Ultimately, the decision to settle, continue negotiations, or sue is yours. However, you should listen to your attorney’s advice because they have a rough idea of the case’s worth.

How to Refuse an Insurance Settlement Offer

You should know the steps to take if an insurance offer doesn’t meet your expectations.

These are the steps to reject the offer:

  • Get a car accident attorney: Before you make a final decision about a settlement offer, retain a car accident attorney. They can offer insight about whether the offer is fair and what your next steps should be. Your attorney also can recommend a fair counteroffer.
  • Review the offer: Review the initial settlement offer with your car accident lawyer. Ask the attorney if it offers a fair amount for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
  • Think about timing: There may be deadlines for accepting or rejecting the insurance offer, so be aware of them.
  • Document the claim: You have a stronger case if you record all documents, communication, and evidence related to the accident. Keep copies of communications with all adjusters, proof of your lost earnings, and copies of medical expenses.
  • Make a counteroffer: You have the right to make a counteroffer. Your attorney will recommend what a fair offer is.
  • Send demand letter: You may need to send an official demand letter outlining your damages and settlement offer. Your attorney can draft a demand letter for you.
  • Be ready to sue: If settlement negotiations stall, you have no recourse but to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your lawyer is there to guide you through this complex process.

Remember, a low insurance settlement offer isn’t the end of the road. Rejecting a low offer and continuing negotiating can lead to a fair settlement. Or, you can always take the case to court and have your lawyer make their best case to a jury.

Why Work With An Experienced Car Accident Attorney?

Why Work With An Experienced Car Accident AttorneyThe insurance negotiation process can be rife with uncertainty and stress. If you’re in the position of whether to accept or reject a settlement offer, having a skilled attorney at your side can make a massive difference.

Here are several reasons to work with an experienced personal injury attorney during insurance negotiations:

  • In-depth understanding of insurance laws, tactics, and policies that adjusters employ. They can advise when an offer is too low or about right.
  • Legal guidance: Your lawyer will give you legal counsel and guide you to make informed decisions that can affect your health and financial future.
  • Advanced negotiation skills: Many personal injury lawyers negotiate with insurance companies daily and know how to squeeze more money from penny-pinching insurance companies.
  • Case value: Your lawyer will value your claim as accurately as possible. They will consider all reasonable expenses so you don’t get less than you’re entitled to.
  • Documentation: Your lawyer can help collect important documentation about evidence, injuries, medical expenses, and lost earnings to build a more robust case.
  • Rights protection: Your car accident attorney will safeguard your rights and prevent the insurance adjuster from taking advantage.
  • Bad faith: Your lawyer will know if the insurance company is acting in bad faith. If so, there are legal steps to counter these unethical maneuvers.
  • Court representation: Your attorney will represent you in court if insurance negotiations fail.
  • Maximum compensation: Your attorney’s aim is to get you as much money as possible. Your lawyer’s advanced training and skills usually result in more money in your pocket than you can get alone.

How to Get a Higher Insurance Settlement

Now that you understand you can negotiate for a higher settlement, how do you get more money in your pocket? First, remember that if you hire an attorney, leave all the negotiations and back and forth to them.

Remember these tips when it’s time to maximize your insurance settlement for a car accident:

  • Take your time: You may get phone calls from the at-fault party’s insurance company after your injury. Sometimes, they will call within minutes of the claim filing while you’re still at the scene. Their goal is usually to offer a small amount of money and get you to sign a release. Never accept an initial offer. Instead, tell them you’ll review the matter, and your attorney will contact them.
  • First offers are a test: The first offer is usually a test to see if you have a lawyer or understand what your case is worth. The insurance company knows injured people may need money and probably doesn’t understand the value of the claim. Never accept any offer without your attorney reviewing it.
  • Document your damages: You must prove all your losses to get the best insurance settlement. So, fully document your losses with medical bills, medical records, invoices, paystubs, lost work time, etc. You will need these records to prove your losses. The more documentation you have of your losses, the better.
  • Go to the doctor: Always get checked by a doctor after a car accident unless it was a fender bender and you’re positive you have no injuries. Waiting to go to the doctor can torpedo your claim and settlement. The insurance company will maintain that you aren’t seriously injured.
  • Be patient: A successful insurance settlement negotiation can take several months. You may feel it is taking forever, especially when you need money. Adjusters know that many injury victims want to get something in their pockets so that they will drag out negotiations. You should be persistent, patient, and willing to negotiate for as long as necessary.
  • Retain a lawyer early: Before entering any insurance negotiation, you should retain an attorney. The sooner your lawyer is involved, the better it will be. You can say or do something that affects your claim, such as saying you were partially at fault.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

Russell Reiner, Redding Car Accident Lawyer

Russell Reiner, Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident may cause severe injuries, leaving you mystified about how to pay your medical bills and other expenses. Fortunately, when another party caused the accident, you might recover compensation in a lawsuit.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a complimentary case review today! You may receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. The stakes are usually high in an insurance claim, and you need an attorney to safeguard your rights and secure the most compensation.

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