Can I Reject a Settlement Offer I Think is Too Low?
If an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement in your personal injury claim, you are not obligated to take it. If you think you are entitled to a larger sum, keep negotiating until you get a settlement you feel comfortable with.
1. Be Reasonable.
Scouring the Internet for negotiation tips does not make you a negotiating genius. Even experienced attorneys who negotiate personal injury settlements every day will tell you that no amount of negotiating prowess is going to get you a gargantuan settlement that will set you up in a giant mansion for life. Especially when you do not deserve it.
The first rule of settlement negotiation is to know the approximate value of your claim, and to work toward a settlement within that range. If the settlement you have been offered is less than you were hoping for, but is still reasonable, you should consider your arguments carefully before rejecting it.
2. Low Settlement Offers are Common
Insurance companies, and the adjusters who work for them, are in the business of making the best of bad situations. The insurance company wants to come out on top of any situation, and they are experienced at getting what they want. It is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to know just how much time, money, and headache your claim is going to cost the company and attempt to offer a quick but low settlement to get you to go away. Be wary of an offer like that. You can contact The Advocates at any time to talk to an attorney about the strength of your offer. Consultations are always free.
3. Know the Limits of the Insurance Policy
If you are negotiating for compensation under a home or auto insurance policy, ask for a copy of the policy as soon as you can. Outside of special circumstances the insurance company will not usually pay an injured party more than the liability policy limit.
When you purchase an insurance policy, you pay for a certain level of coverage, the limits of which are listed in your policy. For example, an auto policy could cover up to $50,000 in property damage coverage and $100,000 in medical expenses per injured person. That means that if you cause an accident your insurance company will only pay up to $150,000 in damages if one person is injured.
When negotiating a settlement think of it the other way. You need to know what the limits of the other party’s insurance policy are. You can request a copy of the insurance policy you are trying to collect under, and the company will send it to you. When you know the policy limits, you know the limits of the insurance adjuster’s ability to meet your demands. If you want $1,000,000 in damages, but the policy limit is only $150,000, you have a problem.
4. Send a Rejection Letter with a Good Argument
If, after you have thought about reasonableness and the policy limit, you still think the offer you have is too low, you can reject it. Always reject a settlement offer in writing. Type a letter to your contact at the insurance company listing the reasons you think that their offer is too low. Back up these reasons with concrete evidence attached to the letter. Finally, provide a counteroffer of a sum you think is more reasonable.
If at any time, you would like additional insight into whether the settlement offer you received is reasonable and fair, the attorneys at The Advocates are happy to provide a free consultation and answer any questions you may have. Call 801-326-0809 and our team will be happy to help in any way we can.