Car crash victims need compensation to cover medical treatment, the cost of repairing their vehicle, and other damages.
If the insurance company offers compensation, victims are going to want to take it. This is partly because they are afraid of what might happen if they reject the insurance company’s offer.
Crash victims’ ideas about what happens if they reject a settlement are often influenced by the insurance company, and these ideas are misleading. Below, we discuss what may happen if you reject an offer.
If the insurance company made a low offer, our Maryland vehicle accident lawyers may be able to negotiate for more compensation.
Call to schedule a free consultation: 410-297-0271. No upfront legal fees.
A low settlement offer is one that does not account for the full cost of your damages. For example, the insurance company may have undervalued or excluded some of your medical expenses. The insurance company may have excluded the cost of ongoing medical treatment you may need after your claim concludes.
Low settlement offers are often made early, long before the treatment process has concluded, and your doctor has determined your long-term prognosis.
Car insurance companies make lowball offers because they want to close your claim for as little money as possible. They often know they are undervaluing your damages, but they are hoping you will decide to accept the offer because you are desperate. Many crash victims have a difficult time paying their medical bills, especially because they might be unable to work, which hurts their income.
The underlying reason for low settlement offers is that insurers want to save themselves money. However, there may be other factors at play:
The insurance company may say this even if you are clearly not at fault. The insurance company knows crash victims often question what they could have done differently to avoid the accident. They think there is a chance you might believe them.
What you need to remember is that insurance companies claim victims are at fault even when they are clearly not. Maryland has a harsh contributory negligence law that bars victims from recovering any compensation if they are even one percent at fault.
If you question how you could be at fault, you should contact an experienced lawyer for assistance.
Insurance companies often use software to calculate the value of a claim, but sometimes these programs miscalculate what a claim is worth. However, this is probably not an honest mistake. These programs are designed to support the insurance company’s interest in saving money.
The insurance company often knows that it is offering far less than your claim is worth. Making a lowball offer is an example of a bad-faith practice.
The most significant mistake crash victims can make when they receive a low settlement offer is choosing to accept it. Once you accept it you cannot pursue more compensation from the insurance company over the same accident.
There is no need to get frustrated and think it is better to just give up. Our attorneys understand that it can be frustrating to negotiate with insurance companies whose interests are completely opposed to yours. That is why you should leave the negotiating to an experienced attorney.
Another mistake is listening to the insurance company when they say the offer is only partial payment. This is a trick to get you to accept the offer, which will close out your claim. If you accept the offer, the insurance company is not going to pay you any more compensation later.
The insurance company would have you believe your claim is finished and you cannot recover any compensation from the insurance company. However, this is an inaccurate framing of the situation.
If you reject a settlement offer on your own without being represented by an attorney, you are likely to have a difficult time obtaining compensation from the insurance company. This is because the insurance company is going to take your claim more seriously if your attorney is managing it.
That said, even with an attorney, the insurance company might not make a better offer. When that happens, your last option may be to file a lawsuit. When you hire a lawyer, he or she can prepare for this, ensuring a lawsuit can be filed before the statute of limitations passes.
While rejecting a settlement offer may make it harder to recover compensation, eventually, it may be the right decision. However, you should hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. The sooner you contact a lawyer the better – as time passes it becomes harder for a lawyer to help you.
It is often best to reject the first offer of compensation because it is far below the full value of your claim. Once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot recover any more compensation. You need to make sure the offer you accept will provide all the compensation you need. If the offer does not provide full compensation, you may be left paying for a lot of your damages out of your own pocket.
If you hire an experienced attorney, you may have a better chance of recovering fair compensation for your damages if you reject the first settlement offer.
It is often best to allow your attorney to reject the first settlement offer on your behalf. You should discuss the offer with your attorney beforehand. At our firm, we have reviewed countless settlement offers and injury claims and we know how to determine if an offer is fair or not.
Your lawyer can also take the time to do a thorough investigation of your accident, evaluate your damages and craft a formal demand letter. We can also prepare for the courtroom in case the insurance company does not increase its offer.
The insurance company is likely going to tell you how much time there is to accept or reject the offer. That said, the insurance company could take the offer off the table whenever it wants to.
If you receive a settlement offer, you should discuss it with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
You are within your rights to reject a settlement offer that is inadequate for your damages. However, this is something that should be left to a qualified lawyer.
At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, we negotiate with car insurance companies all the time. We know how to secure more compensation for your damages after rejecting lowball offers.
If you have any legal questions after being injured in a crash, call us today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.
There are no upfront fees for any of our services. Call 410-297-0271.