The days after an accident are busy, stressful and expensive. You’re no doubt contending with frequent calls from insurance agencies, speaking to doctors, completing complex paperwork, all while possibly not being able to go to work to cover the costs. How can you focus on getting better when you can’t afford to get better in the first place?
Insurance should be helping you cover these costs. Insurance companies don’t always give you the compensation you need, though. A claims adjuster will most likely be happy to provide you with a check, but you can expect the offer to fit their bottom line, not yours. Pushing back against an unfair offer can be difficult, but it may be what you need to make a full recovery.
After the accident
Insurance claims adjusters tend to work on their own schedules. With no firm deadline of when they must provide a settlement offer, they have time to investigate the accident, review police records, interview witnesses and take over evaluative steps.
Evaluating an accident can take time, but do not let your adjuster stall. Stalling is sometimes used as a tactic to make you need a settlement more and take a lower offer. Call your adjuster regularly to make sure they are on track.
Responding to a low offer
Once you receive an offer, it is at your discretion to accept or reject it. Often, your first offer will be considerably lower than you need it to be. This makes sense from the perspective of the insurance company. They only gain if you accept the low-ball offer.
If you choose to reject the offer, you will want to do so in writing. Carefully look over their offer and respond to each point made by the adjuster to why your claim is lower than you think it fair. Use hard numbers wherever possible, like the cost of your medical care, the market value of your vehicle, the value of the wages you have lost, anything you have available, and be sure to include your counter offer.
Your counter offer should look professional, have exact figures and use all the evidence you have available. This is a time when an experienced attorney can make a major difference. They will not only be well traveled in calculating the real value of your claim, but they know how to respond to insurance companies on their terms. They will also be able to manage your paperwork, calls and other bumps in the road that distract from you getting better.
Few things can throw your life into disarray more than a serious accident. Wanting to carry on with getting your life back together can make an insurance adjuster’s initial offer seem very attractive. Take a moment to consider the full breadth of your needs, though, and push back if the offer is unfair.