Why is the First Settlement Offer Often So Low?

signing documents at tableThe insurance company may sometimes surprise car crash victims by quickly offering a settlement. The insurance adjuster may say it is because he or she wants to resolve the claim as quickly as possible and make sure you receive compensation.

Unfortunately, some crash victims accept the offer and are satisfied that they at least got something. The problem comes later when the settlement runs out and they still have medical bills and other damages they cannot pay for themselves.

These settlements are bound to run out quickly because they are usually too low. Below, we discuss some of the main reasons why these initial settlement offers are so low. We also explain the danger of accepting these lowball offers and why you should talk to an attorney about your situation.

For decades, TSR Injury Law has been helping crash victims recover compensation. We are committed to aggressively pursuing maximum compensation.

Reasons Initial Settlement Offers are Low

Insurance companies have many reasons to make low offers to victims, such as the following:

Protecting Their Bottom Line

Car insurance companies are businesses, and they need to make money to stay in business. They collect premium payments and invest those payments to make money.  By paying out as little as possible, they keep the difference and make a billions of dollars per year in profits.

Another part of their strategy is paying as little as possible for claims so they can keep their money invested for a longer time maximizing profits.

Victims Often Accept Lowball Offers

Unfortunately, some victims accept these low offers. Insurance companies know there is a chance of this happening, so why not try? If the injured person accepts the low offer, the insurance company has even higher profits. If no one ever accepted these offers, there would be no reason for the insurance company to make them.

The problem is most victims do not know the potential value of their claims. They may underestimate what their claims are worth, they may believe their injuries are not that serious or they may not understand that even a “policy Limit” offer might not be true. Insurers also know victims may be desperate for compensation, so they hope you will just take what is offered.

Insurers know some victims will think it is too much of a hassle to negotiate or hire a Bloomington auto accident attorney to help them.

Insurers Do Not Think You Will Hire an Attorney

Many crash victims decide not to work with an attorney. Insurance companies know this, and they often assume victims will not hire an attorney. If a victim does not hire an attorney, they are more likely to accept a lowball settlement offer. Some victims may not even make a counteroffer after the first offer is made by the insurance company.

Insurance companies do not want victims to hire attorneys, particularly attorneys who regularly take cases to court. When a car crash claim goes to court, a jury may award significantly more than the insurance company would pay out after negotiating with a lawyer outside of court.

Without a lawyer, the insurance company does not feel pressure to make a better offer that more accurately reflects the value of your damages. There is no fear or danger to the insurance company because no jury will hold them accountable. The fear is often the best motivator to settling cases fairly and without an attorney, that concern is negated.

The Insurance Company Questions Your Credibility or Strength of Your Case

When the insurance company thinks the victim is partially at fault or that he or she does not have a strong case, they may be more likely to make a lowball offer. The insurance company does not feel much pressure if they think you have a weak case.

There are various reasons the insurance company may question the strength of your case, such as:

  • Statements you made that seem to indicate you are at fault or your injuries are not that serious
  • Social media posts you made undermine your case
  • You have missed doctor’s appointments without rescheduling them
  • Your account of the crash differs from the accounts of others involved or witnesses
  • You have preexisting injuries

Insurers Do Not Have All the Facts

Sometimes there is evidence that even the victim does not know about, much less the insurance company. The insurance company may still be investigating the crash. Additional evidence may help to validate the value of your damages and convince the insurance company to make a better offer.

Examples of missing evidence may include:

  • Camera footage
  • Witness statements
  • Errors on police reports

Your Claim May Have Significant Value

When a crash causes significant damages, the value of the claim can be quite high. That means it would cost the insurance company quite a lot of money. They have an incentive to try to settle it for as little as possible.

Even though the initial offer for these claims is far below the value of the victim’s damages, insurance companies are focused on their bottom line. If your claim is only worth a few thousand dollars, the insurance company may be more likely to settle for the full value of your damages. However, when a claim is worth tens of thousands or more, insurance companies would rather try to lowball the victim and hope he or she accepts the offer.

The Offer Was Created by Software

Sometimes settlement offers are created by a computer. These computers use algorithms to evaluate data collected by the insurance company to determine the value of a claim.

The problem with these offers is they do not consider specific differences between your situation and other claims. Computers cannot consider unique factors about your injury and other aspects of your case.  Bad results for the insurance company are often not entered as data, so future offers never reflect the true value of a claim.

Software used by these computers is designed to serve the interests of the insurance company.

Call TSR Injury Law Today to Discuss Legal Options

You have the option of hiring an attorney to represent your best interests at no upfront cost. At TSR Injury Law, we represent crash victims on contingency, which means we do not get paid unless you get paid.

Give us a call today to learn more about our services and the benefits of working with an attorney. We are here to help.

TSR Injury Law. Local. Licensed. Attorneys. (612) TSR-TIME

Are Negotiations Over When You Verbally Agree to a Settlement?

man making phone call from couchOne of the dangers of talking to the insurance company after a car crash is you may be tempted to agree to a quick settlement offer. Insurance companies often make settlement offers early in the process. They know crash victims are often desperate for compensation and do not know the true value of their claim. Insurance companies sometimes will make a property damage offer and then add a” few hundred for the rest.” People do not understand that property claims are separate from injury claims and cannot legally be bound together as a mandatory “take it or leave it” offer.

It is important to note that a verbal agreement may not be legally binding. In other words, if you accepted a settlement offer over the phone but have yet to sign anything, you may still be able to negotiate.

You should strongly consider discussing the situation with an experienced attorney before signing anything. The settlement offer may not provide all the compensation you need, and a lawyer may be able to negotiate for more.

Call the Bloomington-based auto accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law for a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees or obligations for our services.

Can a Verbal Settlement Agreement be Enforced?

This is a complex question and multiple factors need to be considered to answer it. For example, did you agree to the insurance company recording your phone conversation? If so, and you said you agreed to a settlement offer, it will be more difficult to undue the contract. Was the agreement for property damage and got expanded to all matter? The greater the overreach, the easier it is to cancel the agreement.

It is very important that you do not sign anything until discussing it with a lawyer. While the insurance company is focused on paying out the smallest settlement, an experienced attorney should be focused on obtaining maximum compensation.

You may be concerned about making the insurance company wait. However, insurance companies often try to convince crash victims they need to accept the first offer because there will not be another one. This is often not the case, particularly when you have an attorney advocating for you. Insurance companies often argue “why hire an attorney? They will simply take half of your settlement.” This is not true. Some services like property damage and medical bills paid by no fault are done without a charge.  In addition, well known statistics show people with attorney often get three times the settlement as those without representation. So even after paying a fee, people with attorneys come out ahead and have the comfort of knowing the settlement was done legally correct.

You have the right to discuss a settlement offer with an attorney before agreeing to it. If you already gave verbal acceptance, you may need to formally rescind your acceptance offer. This is something an attorney should be able to assist you with.

What Should I Say if a Settlement Offer is Made?

You do not have to say “yes” or “no” right away. You can say you need time to consider the offer or that you would like to talk to your lawyer about it.

What Happens if You Sign a Settlement Offer?

Once you sign a settlement offer, it is very unlikely you will be able to back out of it. Settlement offers usually contain clauses releasing insurance companies from any future liability for the accident in question.

Unless you can prove the insurance company committed fraud, coerced you into settling or you can prove a lack of mental capability to understand the contract, it is unlikely you would be able to seek more compensation. That is why it is so important to be sure about a settlement offer before signing it.

Compensation cannot change what happened, but it can allow victims to move forward with their lives without significant medical debt. Settlements can also help victims secure their financial future while they recover and are unable to work as much as before.

Why Initial Settlement Offers are Usually Inadequate

Initial settlement offers are often inadequate because it is not in the insurance company’s best interests to offer full compensation.  Their profit margin is enhanced every time they can quick settle for $1,000.00 when a case is truly worth $10,000.00 or settle for $100,000.00 (which may sound like a lot of money) when the case is actually worth $150,000.00 (which sounds better).

It is also difficult to assess the value of a claim so early in the process. Victims need to finish their treatment, and doctors need to see if your injury will have any long-term effects. It is only at that point that doctors can determine if you need ongoing treatment or if your injuries will impact your ability to work or live the rest of your life pain free.

If doctors and your attorney need time to determine the value of your case, there is no way the insurance company can know what it may be worth.

Need Help After a Car Crash? Set Up a Free Consultation Today

Car crash claims are often worth more than the insurance company says they are. Their goal is to pay out the least possible amount to protect their bottom line.

That is why it is important to meet with a licensed attorney to discuss your claim. TSR Injury Law has obtained over $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our clients. Your initial consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees while we work on your case.

Call Today for Legal Assistance. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.