Your Options When Offered a Small Personal Injury Compensation
After you and your personal injury lawyer have gone through all the documents pertaining to your medical expenses and other damages information, you will most likely be in a better position to come up with a settlement amount as compensation for your claim. This amount will then be communicated in writing to the insurer of the party responsible for your injury.
Generally, the insurance company will not accept to pay the first settlement you demand but will instead offer a counter settlement. The insurance company will usually propose a lower settlement than you initially ask for after investigating the evidence of your case. If this happens, do not panic, or feel pressured to give in. Most personal injury lawyers will tell you that this is a ploy commonly used by insurance companies to get you to accept the lower settlement. Instead, here is what you can do:
i) Analyze the offer when you are calm
The way your case will progress will depend on how you respond to the offer provided by the insurance company. You should therefore think carefully before responding to the offer. Do not get emotional regarding the offer no matter how small it may be. Keep your cool and do not seem desperate, which is something the insurance company will be looking to capitalize on.
ii) Respond in writing
Your accident lawyer will first want to know why the insurance company offered a smaller settlement before proceeding with the next step. For example, the insurance company may point out that the evidence provided is not sufficient to determine your innocence in the accident.
After knowing the reasons for the smaller counter offer, your attorney will know how to build your case to ensure you get a fair settlement before responding to the insurance company. It is advisable that this response be submitted in writing, and should address the gaps pointed out by the insurance adjuster.
iii) Propose a counter settlement
In the response letter, your attorney should indicate a new offer that you may have come to an agreement on, usually lower than the first offer but higher than what the insurance company proposed. At this juncture, the case will be in the negotiation stage and your attorney will try his best to get you a reasonable settlement for your injuries.
The insurance adjuster will then also respond either in agreement or with another counter offer. This is expected as part of the settlement negotiation process.
iv) Have the contract written down
When the negotiations are successful, your attorney will draft an agreement letter and keep a copy on your behalf. The amount you will be paid will be indicated in the agreement.