Injuries that are the result of others’ negligence or carelessness happen every day. Whether it’s in a car accident, a dog attack, or a slip-and-fall on someone’s property, it is likely an insurance company will try to settle the case quickly and offer a lowball settlement.
Insurance companies are in business to make money and are not motivated to compensate victims for their injuries. In fact, they will try to deny or delay personal injury claims and pay as little as possible to the victim.
If you were injured as a result of someone else, you may have a personal injury claim. Before settling with an insurance company, know the signs you are being lowballed before accepting a settlement.
Red Flags Your Getting a Lowball Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to settle personal injury lawsuits quickly and for as little as possible. There are signs to look for to determine if an insurance company is lowballing a settlement and trying to avoid compensating victims for what they deserve.
If you offered a settlement, these are clear signs the offer may be too low:
- The settlement offer arrived quickly. After an accident, it takes time to investigate and determine who was at fault and who may be liable for any damages or medical bills that resulted from the accident. If an insurance company sends a settlement offer to you quickly, this is a sign they have not done a proper investigation and are trying to make the claim “go away.”
A quick offer can also mean they are trying to negotiate with you before you’ve had the chance to discuss your case with an injury lawyer. Once you’ve consulted with an experienced attorney, the insurance company will have to work directly with the lawyer on your settlement case.
- The insurance company ignores evidence or ignores damages. Insurance can help a victim recover financially after an accident, however insurance companies often do as much as possible to avoid payments that cover all injuries and expenses of the victim. Insurance companies are a business, after all, and have financial goals to hit. They often send lowball offers knowing the compensation doesn’t cover all injuries or damages submitted by the victim. Settlements should cover current and future medical bills, physical and emotional therapy needs, lost wages and future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damage. Insurance companies may leave out one of these areas in their lowball settlement offer.
- They downplay your injuries. After you’ve informed the insurance company about your injuries and submitted your medical reports, they may try to downplay your injuries or claim you had a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies may even try to get you to sign a medical release form so they can scour your past medical history looking for pre-existing conditions. Do not sign any paperwork from an insurance company before consulting an attorney.
- The insurer claims you were at fault. An insurance company may claim you were at fault as a justification for a lowball offer. While there are cases of shared liability in personal injury cases, do not let the insurance company dictate who was at fault to you. Expert witnesses, police reports, and other evidence will determine who was to blame for the accident and your resulting injuries.
- They go quiet. After an insurance company offers a settlement, they may go quiet and not return calls or emails to you. You are entitled to having your questions answered, and they may ignore you to try to intimidate you. This is a clear indication they are offering you less than what you deserve. They may make you feel like you are alone or unimportant and that your only option is to accept the offer.
What to Do If You Are Offered a Settlement
If you were injured from a motor vehicle accident, motorcycle accident, slip-and-fall, dog attack, or other accident, the insurance company will likely send you a settlement offer. If you are offered a settlement, know that you have rights and do not have to sign the settlement agreement.
You do not have to accept a lowball offer from an insurance company. Here are several steps to take when a settlement offer is sent to you:
- Do not sign anything, especially a release form. The promise of a quick settlement check may be appealing. Insurance companies know this and will prey on victims that need immediate cash to cover medical bills. Do not sign paperwork releasing the company from future liability or compensation so you can receive a quick settlement.
- Be careful of what you say to the insurance company. What you say can and will be held against you. Insurance companies will try to use anything you say to avoid a settlement. When someone is in an accident, even if it wasn’t their fault, the natural response is to apologize. An apology, even if you were not at fault, could be used to lower your settlement offer.
- Call a Personal Injury Lawyer. Personal injury lawsuits and the insurance industry are complicated. Consult with a personal injury law firm so you understand your rights. Insurance companies only have one priority, and it isn’t you – get a fighter on your side.
Central PA’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm
At the law offices of Dale E. Anstine, we have represented thousands of victims in personal injury lawsuits and are aggressive with insurance companies who try to lowball settlement offers. Our priority is our clients. All we do is personal injury law and we are experienced navigating the legal system. If you or a loved one were injured and an insurance company is trying to settle your claim, reach out today for a free consultation.
Recovering after an accident is stressful enough, let us take on the burden of the legal process. You deserve more than a quick, cheap settlement. When you need an experienced attorney, you can count on us. We are available 24/7 and do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Let us recover the compensation you deserve.