Few things are more frustrating than dealing with insurance companies after getting seriously hurt in an accident. You could have significant evidence proving that you weren’t to blame for your injury and that your policy—or the policy of whoever is at fault—covers all your losses. However, the insurance company will likely fight tooth and nail to avoid giving you the money you deserve.
Early in this process, you may receive a settlement offer that doesn’t come close to covering all your damages, and you’ll need to push back if you want to get paid fairly. Knowing how to counter a personal injury settlement offer can help you negotiate effectively with an insurance provider, as can hiring a winning personal injury attorney at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to represent you.
Calculating a Fair Personal Injury Settlement Value
Ideally, a personal injury settlement should cover special and general damages—in other words, losses with an objective financial value that you can prove through quantitative evidence, and losses with a subjective value based on your unique experiences. Calculating special damages involves adding up medical bills and invoices, figuring out how much time you’ll miss at work and what wages or salary you’ll lose as a result, and factoring in out-of-pocket expenses like rental car fees.
Figuring out how much you should receive for general damages can be much more complicated. There’s no way to assign an objective value to things like physical pain or a decline in your quality of life after an accident, so you’ll need to compare those losses to more straightforward ones. For example, one method our attorneys might use involves equating the effort of dealing with your pain to the effort of going through a typical day of work.
What Evidence Should You Have?
Insurance companies won’t just take your word that you should be paid more than what they’re offering. You and your seasoned attorney will need to prove your special and general damages by providing as much documentation as possible, including:
- Medical bills and records
- Photos of injuries
- Pay slips
- Journal entries or testimonies from family and friends to show the impact of your pain and suffering on your life
When seeking damages, it is also important to consider how much money and time you might save by agreeing to a settlement rather than going through a civil court trial.
Submitting a Counteroffer and Continuing Negotiations
Once you have a good idea of what a fair personal injury settlement offer would look like, you and your lawyer can respond to the subpar offer you’ve already received by drafting a counteroffer in writing. Your letter should clearly state that the amount you were offered is too low, briefly explain your reasoning based on your evidence and documentation, and provide the amount you’d be happy to accept as a settlement.
Depending on the circumstances, you might want to send this letter directly to a claims manager at the insurance company rather than the adjuster assigned to your claim. At Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers, our skilled attorneys can provide specific guidance about the best strategy for your claim.