After an accident, it can be challenging to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. Without legal representation, you may be left with an amount that is not equivalent to the damages and injuries you suffered.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are “30.8 million emergency department visits for unintentional injuries,” based on statistics from 2015. An accident can happen at any moment. If you have suffered injuries and attempted to file a claim to receive compensation, you could be offered an amount that isn’t equal to the damages and pain you have endured. This can be incredibly frustrating and stressful.
At Bandas Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys in Corpus Christi understand the hidden agendas insurance companies have, including their goal to pay the lowest amount possible to injured victims. If you or a loved one has been injured, and you’ve been offered a settlement that you believe is inadequate, you need our help.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law covers a wide variety of cases that involve an innocent person who suffered physical or emotional injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Personal injury law also covers wrongful death, in which one person’s negligent actions or disregard for safety resulted in a fatal accident.
Individuals who have experienced injuries or damages due to someone else’s negligence have the opportunity to file a claim and receive compensation.
Compensation is an amount awarded to a victim for their injuries and any damages that were caused by the accident. It’s meant to help victims during their recovery process. Compensation can cover multiple types of damages including:
Special Compensatory Damages
These types of damages cover monetary expenses that resulted from the accident:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Cost of future medical bills
- Loss of future earnings
General Compensatory Damages
General damages include non-monetary damages such as:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
A family member or loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to receive compensation for their loss and any expenses that resulted from their loved one’s death such as:
- Burial expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses before death
- Loss of financial contribution
What Is a Claims Adjuster?
A claims adjuster is someone who works for the insurance company and evaluates the amount they believe an injured victim should receive.
“Authority” is a common term people hear adjusters use to reference the highest amount they will offer you for your settlement, however, in some cases, they may be able to offer more.
Insurance companies use this phrase in attempts to convince you that their offer is the best you can get. Most of the time, you can assume they are bluffing and attempting to use scare tactics so you will feel pressured to accept a lower offer.
FOUR MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
- Settling your injury claim too quickly- The bills may be piling up so the first offer may seem like the best choice, however, settling too quickly can cause you to lose out on a potentially greater amount.
- Believing the insurance company has your best interests in mind – A key factor to remember is that the insurance company is not your friend. Their goal is to get you to accept the lowest offer possible.
- Making demands that don’t line up with your case- People have made demands for a particular amount of money without reliable documentation to back it up, such as medical bills and police reports.
- Being rude or lying to an insurance claims adjuster – Claims adjusters are human and when you’re disrespectful or lie about your case, it could cause the adjuster to be hesitant to work with you.
SHOULD I TAKE THE INITIAL SETTLEMENT OFFER?
Do not panic over a low settlement offer.
There are multiple reasons why an adjuster might offer a low amount at first. For example, they may believe the accident was partly your fault, your injuries are not severe, or your demands for compensation do not match your injuries.
Although it’s a rarity, some insurance companies may offer a fair settlement up front. If the first offer is fair, you should consider accepting it even though it’s the first offer.
However, you should not take an initial settlement offer without first speaking with one of our attorneys. Our lawyers can help you determine what’s fair based on your injuries and any damages caused by the accident.
DO NOT STALL
In some cases, a claimant may allow the insurance company to stall their settlement negotiations. When the settlement stalls, the insurance company will earn interest on the compensation you are entitled to receive for your claim.
That is why ensuring you bring your claim to a close by securing a reasonable amount for your injuries and any damages is important.
HOW TO REJECT A SETTLEMENT OFFER?
Yes, you can reject a settlement offer. If you plan to reject the initial offer, you will need to send a demand letter to the adjuster that states the following information:
- You are not happy with the amount they have offered and would like to demand higher compensation.
- The reason you believe the settlement offer is not acceptable.
- A list of reasons why you deserve a higher compensation amount.
- The amount you desire based on your injuries and any damages.
Once you send the information listed above, you have successfully rejected their offer and made a counteroffer.
MAKING A COUNTEROFFER
Deciding what amount to ask for in your counteroffer can be tricky. Our team highly recommends that you hire one of our personal injury lawyers in Corpus Christi to help determine a reasonable amount to counteroffer based on your injuries and any damages that resulted from the accident.
A knowledgeable attorney at Bandas Law Firm can help you make an appropriate counteroffer for your injury case.
WHAT’S A FAIR SETTLEMENT OFFER?
To determine if an offer is fair, you should weigh the amount against the overall facts of your claim and the injuries and damages you suffered.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate the details of your case and calculate a reasonable compensation amount based on your unique case.
CONTACT A FIRM WILLING TO GO THE DISTANCE
At Bandas Law Firm, we are experienced in handling personal injury cases. Whether it’s a car accident, medical malpractice, or a slip and fall case, we can help. We know that accidents can strain your life and your family. The uncertainty about what the future may hold after an accident can create unbearable fear and stress.
If you’ve been offered a low amount, we want to take the weight off your shoulders by helping you fight for a fair amount.
While every case is different, our team has secured a number of substantial recoveries for victims injured or killed in an accident. We will review every detail of your case to determine what amount should be presented to the insurance company for your injuries.
You don’t have to fight for your settlement alone.
The main goal of our firm is to protect the “little guy” or plaintiff who has been injured as a result of another person’s negligent actions. We are willing to go the distance to help you get your life back on track after an injury.
If you or a loved one tried to file a claim and the insurance company offered a low settlement, call our personal injury attorneys today at (361) 238-2789 or fill out our free consultation form. We look forward to helping you or your loved one.