What if the Car Insurance Settlement Offer is Too Low After a Louisiana Crash?

gavel with stack of hundredsCar insurance companies know the days and weeks after a crash are a difficult time for you. Not only are you dealing with your injuries, but you also have the added pressure of medical expenses and other bills piling up. That is one of the reasons insurers like to quickly offer victims a settlement. They know you need money, and it can be hard to resist. In that situation, even a lowball offer may seem like a lot of money.

The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat are ready to help you when the insurance company offers a low settlement. We have been recovering full and fair compensation for crash victims in Lafayette and the surrounding areas of Louisiana for decades.

If you received a lowball offer from the insurance company, we may be able to assist you in recovering more compensation. Our services come with no upfront fees or legal obligations.

Call Galloway Jefcoat to learn more: (337) 984-8020.

Why is the First Settlement Offer So Low?

The answer to this question is simple: money. Car insurance companies are looking to settle claims for as little as possible. Paying crash victims cuts into profits, which is why they resist paying any more than is necessary.

You might not know this, but insurance companies invest the premium payments you send them. The less money that stays invested, the lower the insurance company’s return. This all ties into the insurance company’s ultimate focus: protecting its own bottom line.

Car insurance companies offer low settlements to victims of all types of Louisiana car accidents. They are so focused on their singular goal of saving money that they will even make a lowball offer to a victim with a life-changing injury.

Insurance companies continue to make low offers because they know there is a chance some victims will accept. Insurers assume victims will not hire a lawyer to help them, and they are often correct. If you do not hire a Lafayette car accident lawyer, however, you are less likely to find out that you can negotiate for more money. If you do not hire a lawyer, you are also less likely to realize your claim is worth a lot more than what the insurance company is offering.

Unfortunately, once you sign the settlement offer, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. This means you cannot seek more compensation for your damages. From the insurance company’s perspective, there is no harm in trying to get you to accept a low offer.

Some of the other possible reasons for low offers include:

  • The offer was generated by computer software the insurance company uses to evaluate claims. It is no surprise that these software programs make calculations that favor the insurance company’s interest over the victim’s interest.
  • The insurance company does not have all the facts about the crash. They may have overlooked important evidence or misinterpreted evidence.
  • The insurance company assigns partial fault to the victim, based on the victim’s statements or actions. For instance, if the victim delayed seeking treatment or made incriminating statements on social media.

Signs the Insurance Company is Lowballing You

Sometimes it is hard for crash victims to determine if the insurance company is trying to underpay their claim. Here are some telltale signs that may indicate a car insurance settlement offer that is too low:

  • The insurance company offers compensation soon after the crash. It takes time to determine what an injury claim is worth. The accident must be investigated, evidence must be collected and damages must be calculated. There is no way a quick settlement offer can account for the full value of your claim. You have not even finished your medical treatment yet, which means more bills will follow.
  • They pressure you to accept the offer. The insurance company may try to do this by saying their offer is the only one they will make. They may say that if you reject this offer you will not get anything. Insurers know you are vulnerable and that you may give in to these threats.
  • They downplay the severity of your injuries. The insurance company wants you to believe your injuries are not a big deal. If they can get you to believe that, then you may also think the settlement they are offering is fair. The question is: how can they know the severity of your injuries? You should also remember insurers are notorious for downplaying injuries to avoid paying more money than they have to.
  • They accuse you of being responsible for the crash. There are times when victims of crashes are fully or partially at fault. However, insurance companies may make this kind of accusation even if when it is not true. Chances are you are not at fault, or at least not as much as the insurance company says.
  • They will not return your phone calls or emails. This is also part of their strategy. They make a lowball offer and then ignore you hoping you will break down and accept what they are offering. They want you to get frustrated and just give up.

How Do You Respond to a Low Settlement Offer?

If you have been offered a settlement that you think is far below the value of your claim, you should call an attorney and ask for help in dealing with the insurance company. You are not required to hire an attorney, but negotiating on your own is a bad idea. In fact, the insurance company is much less likely to increase its offer unless you are working with an attorney.

Some crash victims falsely believe they can accept the first offer as partial payment of their damages. However, this is not true. If you accept the offer, you are barred from recovering more compensation from the insurance company.

You should contact an experienced injury law firm to go over your claim and determine what to do next. An attorney can draft a letter rejecting the lowball offer. He or she can also get to work investigating the accident and drafting a demand letter that accurately reflects what happened and the value of the damages you suffered. The letter will include detailed evidence about:

  • Fault for the crash
  • How your injuries occurred
  • Medical expenses you have already incurred and are likely to incur in the future
  • Lost wages
  • Non-economic damages you suffered
  • And more

Insurance companies often reject the settlement offer proposed in a demand letter from the victim’s attorney. That is OK. Your lawyer can continue to negotiate on your behalf until the insurance company makes a satisfactory offer.

It is vital that you hire a lawyer with proven courtroom experience. If your lawyer always settles out of court, the insurance company may be less likely to offer more compensation. The possibility of a lawsuit can be a motivating factor for insurance companies when a lawyer is negotiating for more compensation.

What is an Acceptable Settlement Offer?

It depends on many factors unique to the case, such as:

  • Severity of the victim’s injuries
  • Likelihood of winning the case in court
  • How long your injury is likely to affect you
  • Whether you are unable to work in the same capacity as before the accident
  • Your non-economic damages
  • The strength of your case
  • How far apart your lawyer and the insurance company are about the value of your case
  • And more

You should hire an experienced attorney to represent you, one with a history of obtaining results for victims. You need to trust that your lawyer knows how to determine the full value of a case. Your lawyer can explain when he or she thinks the insurance company has made a fair offer.

Is the Insurance Company Undervaluing Your Claim? Call For Assistance

You do not have to accept the lowball offer from the insurance company. You may be eligible to recover significantly more compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages.

It is unlikely you will be able to recover the compensation you need without the help of an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat know what you are going through because we have been helping crash victims for many years. Our firm has obtained millions for our clients.

Free legal consultation. Zero upfront fees. Contact us for legal help: (337) 984-8020.