How to Deal with a Low Settlement Offer for Your Truck Accident ClaimJuly 2, 2021
Knowing How to Reject an Unfair Offer for a Truck Accident Settlement Can Help You Get What You May Deserve
Lowball offers after truck accidents are more common than they should be. Why? The insurance company’s adjusters are looking out for the company’s interests, not yours. That means they want to protect the company’s profits by trying to pay as little as possible when it’s time to cut settlement checks.
As frustrating, insulting, or maddening as that can be, how you respond to a lowball offer is important. It can impact what happens next, whether insurers come back with a better offer, and maybe even whether court is on the horizon.
5 Tips for Speaking with Insurance Adjusters & Negotiating a Truck Accident Settlement
If you want to make the right moves after getting a low settlement offer for an 18-wheeler accident claim, here’s what you need to know and do as you respond to and interact with the insurers.
1. Stay Calm & Civil
Do not respond to the insurance company or make a decision about the offer:
- When you’re highly emotional: Intense emotions, from stress and desperation to anger or elation, can cause snap decisions you may regret later. Only respond to the adjuster if you’re calm and prepared to stay that way as you discuss the offer and any issues with it. Also, avoid making any threats. Those will never work in your favor.
- Before you have had the chance to calmly, thoroughly analyze the offer: A closer look at the offer can uncover opportunities for strategically pushing back. If you react before you have reviewed the offer, your counterargument to the adjuster may not be as convincing or effective. That’s because it will likely be more challenging to point out specific problems with the offer.
Also, remember that first offers are typically jumping-off points for negotiations. Don’t expect a fair offer out of the gate.
2. Ask How the Truck Accident Settlement Offer Was Calculated
How did the adjuster come up with the number for your offer? What assumptions and/or estimations did they make in calculating your offer? What is the breakdown of damages for medical bills, lost earnings, and/or other elements of the settlement?
These are just some of the questions that are important to ask—and get clear answers to—when you talk to the adjuster about the offer. A truck accident lawyer can figure out the best questions to challenge adjusters with while effectively handling the negotiations on your behalf.
3. Be Ready with Documentation of Your Injuries & Damages
Medical bills, doctors’ reports, damage estimates, and W2s are just some of the documents that may help you establish damages. In fact, these and/or other documents can highlight specifics, like how badly you were injured, what your future medical bills will likely be, and what earnings you have lost and stand to lose in the future.
Cold hard numbers are hard to deny or prove wrong. Also, keep in mind that insurance companies may not have all the information about the severity of your injuries. The adjuster may have made the low offer simply because (s)he did not have a clear picture of the actual losses.
If you can counter a low offer for your 18-wheeler accident with documents proving damages, you will have much stronger ground to stand on. That can give you better leverage to push back against low offers and compel insurance companies to present fairer ones.
4. Take Notes During Your Discussion
When you’re ready to talk to the insurance adjuster and counter the low offer, write down key points of your conversation, like (but not limited to) details about:
- How the low settlement offer was calculated
- The assumptions and/or estimations the insurance adjuster made with regards to the offer
- Any damages or facts that the insurance adjuster disputes
You will need to officially respond to the low offer in writing, and your notes can help you point out exactly where the offer has fallen short and/or what the adjuster has gotten wrong with the offer. Also, keep in mind that it can be helpful to:
- Ask someone you trust to be on the call with you. Ideally, this would be an 18-wheeler accident lawyer, who can speak on your behalf or advise you on how to handle this call.
- Record the call. It can be difficult to scribble down notes while you’re having an important discussion with an insurance adjuster. Recording the call can help you focus on the conversation at hand while ensuring the details discussed have been captured for future reference.
5. Know & Be Prepared to Deal with Insurance Company Tactics
The insurance company and its adjusters may use various tactics to try to manipulate settlement talks and get you to take the lowest amount possible. Some of these include:
- Prolonging claims’ investigations: This tactic is used to try to turn up the financial pressure on victims. The idea is to make them desperate enough for money that they’ll quickly accept whatever offer is made because they can’t afford to wait out negotiations.
- Overlooking or misinterpreting evidence: Sometimes, insurers may only consider a portion of the evidence, or they can intentionally misread that evidence to favor their interests. The motivation here is usually to shift liability to some other party or to minimize the damages to try to justify a lower settlement.
- Minimizing the injuries: Adjusters may say truck accident injuries weren’t that bad because a victim had pre-existing injuries. They can also point to gaps in medical treatment (after an 18-wheeler wreck) to try to say victims contributed to their own injuries. In either case, the insurer will really be trying to excuse a reduction in the settlement offer for a victim’s crash injuries.
Low Offer for Truck Accident Settlements: The Bottom Line
When it comes to truck accident settlement offers, the reality is that you should not expect the insurance company to offer what you really deserve. Instead, you will probably have to stand up for yourself, prove what you’re entitled to, and push back on at least one low offer.
The best way to arm yourself for these strategic moves and discussions is by retaining an experienced truck accident lawyer. Your attorney can show the insurance company you mean business while helping you take the right steps towards full, fair compensation.