Don’t Take the First Offer an Insurance Company Gives You
Oct. 24, 2022
In 2021, Colorado experienced the highest number of car crash fatalities in two decades, with 691 persons losing their lives on the road. The number of deaths, of course, is just the reality of the dangers of operating a vehicle. Car crashes can happen at any moment.
No one leaves home to go to work or go shopping with the anticipation that they’ll be involved in an accident, but a study by Esurance reveals that 77 percent of all drivers have been -- or will be -- involved in an accident at some point in their lives. Also, the average driver will need to file an insurance claim at least once every 17.9 years.
Every vehicle owner is required to carry liability insurance to cover any injuries or damages caused to others. In addition, owners can opt for insurance add-ons that pay for any injuries or property damages they suffer at the hands of others. Either way, if you need to file a claim with your insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will find yourself dealing with a claims adjuster.
No matter how friendly they are, claims adjusters are paid to protect the parent company’s bottom line.
They will do everything they can to reduce the insurance company’s liability. They’ll question and probe in order to get you to say something they can use to limit their settlement. As a result, the first offer you receive is likely to be a low-ball offer that doesn't consider all of the elements of compensation you're entitled to under Colorado law. You should never accept it, especially before you know what kind of medical treatment you will need. In fact, it’s better if you don’t deal with the insurance people at all, at least until you've received some advice from a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Aurora or Denver, Colorado, it costs you nothing to consult with the personal injury attorneys at the Gama Law Firm. With nearly 70 years of combined experience, Joe and Richard Gama know all the tricks and tactics used by insurance claims adjusters, and we can either help you negotiate a better settlement, or negotiated one for you.
The Gama Law Firm proudly serves clients in the neighboring areas of Parker, Centennial, and Castle Pines, Colorado.
You probably won't even know you're being low-balled
If you’re filing a claim with an insurance company, they won’t openly “nickel and dime” you, as the saying goes, but they’ll use all their resources, knowledge, and tactics to limit their payout. Unless you know specifically what to ask for and how much it's worth, you may not even realize that they are low-balling you. The insurance claims adjuster will also try to get you to admit fault - even partially - in order to minimize their payout.
Even if you’re just dealing with a claim against your own policy (i.e. Uninsured Motorist claim), even your insurer will most definitely make an initial low-ball offer. If you turn it down and demand more to cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, they won’t revoke their first offer. So, it’s in your best interest not to accept the initial offer.
Reasons You Should Reject the First Offer
The primary reason for not automatically saying “yes” to an insurance company’s first offer is that, from history and industry practice, you know it’s going to be a low-ball offer that doesn't consider everything that you're entitled to.
In addition, in the early stages of an injury, it's impossible to know how long they will last or if they'll result in permanent impairment. If you accept an early – that is, first – offer, your claim will be officially closed forever, and you cannot go back later to ask for more compensation if you end up needing surgery, or injections, or other expensive treatment that you could not have foreseen. A settlement, once accepted by you, closes the door on any further reimbursement by the insurer.
Responding to a Low-Ball Settlement Offer
As mentioned, the insurer won’t withdraw the first settlement offer if you reject it, but they won’t necessarily raise it in response to your rejection. You must take action to make known what you believe to be a proper offer. This can be done by drafting and submitting a "demand" letter stating what you believe is an adequate settlement compensation figure.
When you do this, you must take into account expenses that may result from medical and other needs in the future. Remember, once you accept a settlement, you can’t go back for more. It’s over and done with in the eyes of the law.
Even if you don't hire one, talk to an injury lawyer first.
In filing a claim, the best approach is to let an experienced car accident/personal injury attorney deal with the insurance company and its claims representatives from the beginning. But if you are set on doing it yourself, at the very least get some free advice from the lawyers at Gama Law Firm, who are more than happy to reveal some of the "secrets" of a successful settlement.
At the Gama Law Firm, we have dealt with insurance companies’ tactics for decades. We will counter whatever objection the insurer raises or any excuse they try to make while continuing to negotiate for a full and just settlement for you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle accident in or around Denver or Aurora, Colorado, contact us immediately. Let us deal with the insurance companies and their arsenal of tricks and ploys to lower your settlement. You never pay us until we win, and we won’t accept any low-ball offer or accept any settlement that shortchanges your pain and inconvenience after a serious accident.