Handling Low-Ball Offers
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Posted in News & Articles | Posted by: George Heppner - San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
Lowball offers are a common tactic employed by insurance companies and their claims adjusters. This really should not be too surprising if you consider one simple fact; insurance is a for-profit business and denying claims and settling for less than a case is truly worth increases the insurer’s bottom line. However, an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney understands ways to counteract this approach.
Some insurers merely do this all the time in an effort to delay or force every case to trial. Your San Diego personal injury attorney will know who these companies are. In other instances, there may be a reason for a lowball offer, such as:
- Your demand was unreasonably high; some adjusters make a ridiculous counter offer if they feel the initial demand is not consistent with the facts.
- An adjuster may be attempting to “feel out” your lawyer; where does he or she stand? Can the adjuster get you to significantly lower your demand?
- The adjuster is relatively inexperienced and has little authority to negotiate settlements; everything has to be run through a higher-up in the company.
What to Do in Response
Correctly assessing the situation is the first step in crafting an effective counter strategy. If in fact there are significant issues concerning liability or the measure of damages, it may be wise to reconsider the demand. In other situations, the adjuster may be a person who your attorney can speak with, especially if the two have handled other cases together before. In the true spirit of negotiation, sometimes the adjuster has room to move up and sometimes you and your attorney can agree there is room to come down and still be within an acceptable range. It is important for your attorney to be aggressive. This doesn’t mean alienating the adjuster but rather means actively pursuing the case with timely responses and always moving forward. If, for interest, your attorney doesn’t respond to discovery request in a timely manner or schedule depositions without delay, it is very likely the insurance company will drag its feet as well. Ultimately, the primary trump card you have is a willingness to take the case to trial. Too many personal injury attorneys avoid litigation, which results in lower settlements. An insurance adjuster who is aware of the fact that you and your attorney are prepared to let a jury decide the case can be a very positive and motivating factor in achieving a fair settlement.
Contact a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
A personal injury claim is a complex process; for questions at any stage of your particular case, call George C. Heppner, a San Diego personal injury attorney, at (619) 235-4300.