Insurance Companies and Low-Ball Injury Settlement Offers
Nobody expects to be injured in an accident, so many people are ill prepared to negotiate a fair injury claim settlement with an insurance company. Companies usually start with an extremely low initial settlement offers. Usually, this doesn’t even cover all your expenses, so don’t be surprised. You need to realize the lack of obligation to accept this offer, or any following ones.
Many insurance companies try to settle low to save money. Don’t drown under mounting bills and lost wages. It can be frustrating and stressful, but a New Orleans personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate a better settlement.
Insurance companies focus on making money, so they use various tricks to reduce how much they pay out and increase their profits. Some tactics they may utilize, include:
- “Take It or Leave It” strategies to make you believe this is all they’re going to offer for your claim, which may be a fraction of your actual expenses.
- They can deny the claim altogether and not pay anything. Alternately, they can deny you were hurt as badly as you claim to lower your settlement.
- They may delay handling your claim to increase your worry and make you more open to accepting whatever they offer.
- They may defend their case in a long court battle to further delay paying your claim, while you fret about going bankrupt.
Insurance companies save billions of dollars by underpaying legitimate claims. They lose nothing by making lowball settlement offers, and naive claimants frequently accept them.
Document Your Case
It’s vital to document all the evidence surrounding your accident and injury, and follow proper procedure. This ensures that you collect compensation for your current expenses and future losses. Always call the local police and file a report with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, if injured or property damage exceeds $100. Document the accident and follow these guidelines:
- Take photos of your vehicle, other vehicles involved and the accident site.
- Trade insurance information with everyone involved.
- Gather contact information of accident participants and witnesses.
- Write out a statement of the events while they’re fresh.
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Seek medical attention and keep all follow up appointments.
- Obtain a copy of the accident report.
- Keep receipts of all your expenditures.
In Louisiana, you only have one year to file a claim for both personal injury and property damage. This statute of limitations begins the day of your accident, so consider hiring a New Orleans personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later.
Responding to Low Settlement Offers
If you receive a low settlement offer, negotiate with the insurance company for a higher amount. Reject the initial written offer with a letter addressing each point made. Provide further information about your claim, such as copies of medical bills or repair estimates. Include info about lost wages and other negatives caused by your injury. End the letter with the value you’ve placed on your settlement, a.k.a. your counteroffer amount.
The insurance company may counter this offer and negotiations continue until you reach an agreeable settlement. If negotiations stall, don’t hesitate to take them to court.
Hire a Top New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyer
If an insurance company is low-balling you to avoid paying a fair amount, contact a New Orleans personal injury lawyer. We know how to combat these tactics, and offer free consults and collect no fee unless we win your case. Our office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and we will take your call 24/7. You can also use our convenient online LiveChat.