What should you do if the insurance company finally sent an answer to your request for compensation for an auto accident and they proposed an insultingly low offer? This is a common problem when settling insurance claims. Here are three reasons why it happens and how you can respond.
1. It Was Calculated by a Computer
These days, a lot of insurance companies are letting computer algorithms decide how much to pay on claims. These programs use statistical models to determine how much various aspects of a claim is worth and then spit out a number. Sometimes a human will review it for accuracy and appropriateness, but often it'll be sent out as-is.
As odd as this may sound, this is actually good news, because it means the company didn't take the unique aspects of your case into consideration. This will make it easier to counter the low-ball offer by providing specific details that increase your claim's value.
For instance, imagine you broke your arm in a car crash. The algorithm may only calculate how much it would cost to treat the fracture. However, it fails to take into account that you've lost some function in your hand that may or may not return. You should receive compensation for that as well as any future medical treatment you may need.
Either you or your attorney should ask the insurance adjuster how the person arrived at the offer amount. If they say it was computer-generated, you should justify a higher amount by providing specific details about your injuries and other damages the algorithm may not have accounted for.
2. You Said the Wrong Thing
Many insurance companies look for any reason to pay as little as possible on claims, and they don't have any problem using claimants' words against them. Even your insurance provider will scour through your statements, witness testimonies, and even social media accounts to find incriminating information. So, a low-ball offer could be the result of the adjuster discovering comments you made or other material that cast doubt on important aspects of your case, such as who was liable for the accident or the severity of your injuries.
Say you claim your back was so badly injured in the accident that you couldn't work, for example, but there are pictures of you socializing with friends on your Twitter page. The adjuster will point to those photos as evidence your injury wasn't as bad as you said and reduce the offer amount.
Countering problematic content can be challenging, but it's possible depending on what it is. For instance, you could devalue the significance of social media posts as just a snapshot that doesn't provide the whole picture. One judge awarded a woman $500,000 in her case after using that argument to refute the defendant's claims the plaintiff over-exaggerated her injuries based on the pictures she posted online. An attorney can help you develop an appropriate way to respond to this issue, so it's best to consult with one as soon as you're able.
3. You Don't Have an Attorney
Lastly, insurance companies are more likely to lob low-ball offers at claimants who aren't represented by attorneys. They know the average person isn't knowledgeable enough about insurance claims to realize they're being taken advantage of and are hoping the claimants will just take the money and go. This is why it's important to hire a car accident lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can tell you when an offer isn't adequate and negotiate on your behalf to get you what you deserve.
For help with your auto accident case, contact a local attorney.