How Do You Counter Offer a Car Accident Settlement?
Car accidents are not uncommon in the Des Moines area, and it’s also not uncommon to receive low settlement amounts from insurance companies. In most cases, insurance companies are going to try and offer the lowest settlement possible in hopes that the victim accepts it.
However, some car accidents require a higher amount of money to cover physical and material damages, emotional distress, and other expenses. People struggling financially often accept low settlement amounts to accommodate themselves, but that doesn’t have to be their only option.
Keep in mind that people don’t have to settle for the settlement amount the insurance company initially offers after a car accident. Victims are free to reject a settlement and even make a counteroffer for the money they deserve for the damages experienced.
There are some things everyone must keep in mind before making a counteroffer to an insurance company, which are going to be thoroughly covered in this article.
Receiving a Settlement Letter
The settlement process always begins after receiving a letter from the insurance company regarding the settlement offer. Once that happens, the victim is going to be working with the best car accident lawyer Des Moines has to offer to make a counteroffer for the insurance company.
It’s important to note that victims may not achieve the desired results on their first demand. Overall, there’s going to be a lot of back and forth between the victim/attorney and the insurance company until both parties reach an agreement on what suits them.
People cannot make a counteroffer until receiving a settlement letter from the insurance company.
Determine the Value of the Claim
If the victim received a settlement letter from the insurance company and determined that it’s not enough for them, they can start making their counteroffer by determining the true value of the claim.
First, the person must calculate special and general damages. Special damages involve the earnings the victim lost and the expenses they had to cover as a result of the car accident. Some of these expenses include medical expenses, lost wages, and more. It’s vital to keep track of all the doctors/therapists the victim visits so that they can use it as evidence.
On the other hand, general damages involve pain and suffering, emotional distress, and others. In most cases in Des Moines, Iowa, general damages equal 1.5 to five times special damages, although that can change depending on the injury’s severity.
In essence, the victim must combine their special and general damages and adjust the value based on the money they can save. It’s vital to note that the estimated value can vary depending on who was at fault.
Comparing the Estimated Settlement Value to the Insurance/Adjuster’s Value
Logically, the next step is to adjust the victim’s rough estimates with what the insurance company sent them. This is the best way to determine whether the insurance company’s settlement is low or not for what the victim needs.
The calculations the victim made at the beginning are going to help determine where the insurance adjuster made adjustments to offer a lower settlement amount. In most cases, the adjuster may have valued some damage types less than the victim did; in others, the adjuster may not have considered some damage types at all.
It’s vital to review each item thoroughly so that victims don’t make any mistakes in their counter offer.
Preparing the Counteroffer
The final step is to draft a letter where the victim outlines what the insurance company offered them initially. Once they’re done, they must state the reasons why they consider the offer to be too low according to their research. It’s vital to include any documents that may help the victim support their claims (bills, exhibits, photos, etc.)
People may use the end of the letter to state their preferred amount for the settlement. Once the victim finishes the letter, they can send it directly to their claims representative. Insurance adjusters often don’t have the authority to negotiate with car accident victims.
Working with a Professional for the Counteroffer
Drafting a counteroffer for a car settlement in Des Moines, Iowa, can be challenging without any guidance. In these cases, it’s vital to get a fair settlement amount so that the victim can cover all the damages sustained after the accident.
The experts at Tom Fowler Law have the experience to get car accident victims in Des Moines the settlement they deserve and can help you decide if it is better to settle or go to trial.