How to Successfully Counteroffer with an Insurance Company

If you've been injured in an accident – whether it's a car accident, truck accident or work injury – and are due compensation, more than likely you will have to speak with an insurance adjuster. What happens if the insurance company wants to give you less money than you feel you deserve, or less than what you need to cover your medical bills? In this instance, you'll need to negotiate.

As you're negotiating your claim with the adjuster, there are certain aspects of the process that you should be aware of so that you can obtain a fair settlement.

Determine a minimum settlement number.

In the early stages of your negotiations, you'll likely need to write a demand letter. During the process of putting this letter together, you'll need to determine a minimum figure that you are willing to accept. You should keep this number to yourself, that way it won't be set in stone. You can always increase or decrease this figure accordingly through the course of the negotiations.

Note: Keep in mind that determining the true value of your case is extremely complicated. No matter what type of case it is, there are very specific laws that discuss how the compensation you are entitled to is calculated. Any person acting without the advice of legal counsel is at a significant risk of undervaluing their claim simply because they don't know how to determine the value.

Don't jump at the first offer.

In many cases, the first offer you will receive will be low on purpose. This is true for a couple possible reasons: first, it's done to see if you have any knowledge of negotiations; second, the offer could be reasonable but still on the low side to get negotiations rolling. In the case of the latter, you can go ahead and counteroffer, but set your counteroffer amount somewhere between their offer and your demand letter. This will show that you are willing to compromise.

If the adjuster's offer is low, have them justify it.

Sometimes adjusters will give you an obviously low offer as a tactic, which they use to see if you understand the value of your claim. If this happens, do not immediately respond with an offer lower than your demand letter. Rather, ask why the adjuster has provided this extremely low figure. You should then write letter of response.

Don't do anything rash.

Being given a low offer can be frustrating, especially if your injury requires extensive medical care (leading to a pile of bills). Before you blow your lid and spout angry words at the adjuster, you should take a step back and calm down—acting rashly will do nothing for you or your claim. After you've taken the time to cool down, you should write a brief letter responding to each of the factors the adjuster has mentioned.

Get everything in writing.

When you discuss financial matters in any way (whether it is the bills you've received or offers you send) get it in writing. Not only does putting this type of information in writing appear more professional in nature, but it also provides you with a physical copy of the information you've provided the insurance company. Having this information can be proof if something goes awry in your case.

Along with providing your information in writing, you should request any offers from your adjuster in writing too. This is especially true of your final offer. Once you've received the final offer from your adjuster, and you are satisfied with the amount, you should write the insurance company a letter stating that you formally accept the offer. In this letter, you should also request that the insurance company replies back in writing. None of the letters you write need to be complex—a concise statement that includes the essentials will suffice.

Knowing When to Seek Professional Legal Counsel

Negotiating a settlement award after being injured in an accident can be a daunting task. If you've been negotiating with an insurance adjuster and feel you aren't receiving the results you feel you deserve, please get in touch with a Colorado insurance dispute attorney at The Babcock Law Firm to set up a free consultation.

Resolving cases without legal counsel is very risky. Often times, other organizations are entitled to some of the money being paid in a settlement through subrogation liens/reimbursement rights. (For example, a health insurer who pays for your medical treatment following a car accident may or may not be entitled to reimbursement out of your personal injury settlement.) Individuals who don't fully  understand the laws risk accepting what they think is a good settlement, just to find out they have to pay most or all of that settlement to someone else. They also risk having an organization seek repayment for which they are not legally entitled to.

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