If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury because of someone else’s negligent behavior, you probably hoped the insurance company would give you a fair offer for compensation that would relieve the massive burden of your medical bills and other expenses. After all, that’s why people pay into and put their faith in the insurance system. They assume the insurance company will take care of them when something disastrous happens.
Then you finally get the insurance company’s offer — and it’s an insult. The amount they offered doesn’t even come close to covering your current medical bills and other expenses, let alone addressing your ongoing future care and your pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, this scenario is so common after a severe injury that it’s pretty much standard procedure for most victims. But don’t despair if this has happened to you. The insurance company’s bad settlement offer isn’t the end of your case. In fact, it’s just the beginning.
Read on to learn more about why insurance companies tend to make low offers to victims and what you can do when it happens to you.
Computer-Based Estimates Usually Lead to Bad Settlement Offers for Injury Victims
Most larger insurance companies handle too many claims to have someone calculate every settlement offer by hand. Instead, the insurance company uses an electronic system that compares your case to similar accidents or incidents and tries to calculate an average payout. The insurance company then uses that figure to decide how much they will offer you.
For several reasons, this system usually leads to settlement offers that are bad for victims:
- First, your case isn’t like anyone else’s — the circumstances that led to you getting hurt, the nature of your injuries, and the process of your recovery are all unique to you. Especially with complex injury cases, comparing your case to those of other victims who had vaguely similar injuries is a terrible way to figure out what it would take to address your medical bills and other financial losses.
- Second, many victims accept settlement offers that are far too low because they believe they won’t get a better offer and because they think they need the money right away. By equating your case to theirs, the insurance company’s software isn’t trying to calculate how much you need to stabilize your life and address the massive costs from your injury. It’s just trying to figure out how much it will take to get you to join all the other victims who accepted low settlement offers and ended up regretting it later when the amount they received didn’t come close to addressing their long-term costs.
- Third, the insurance company is a for-profit corporation that has only one purpose and one goal in mind: making money. Their business model isn’t based on paying money to victims. It’s based on avoiding paying money to victims unless they absolutely have to. Their electronic claim evaluation systems are custom-designed with this goal in mind, which means you’re dealing with software that was created to try and make your case go away as cheaply as possible for the insurance company.
Fortunately, the low offer you received from the insurance company isn’t the final word on your case. Insurance settlements are a negotiation process, and you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) agree to an offer that won’t cover all your expenses and losses, including your pain and suffering, after a serious injury.
How to Deal With a Low Offer From the Insurance Company
The best way to get the insurance company to take your case seriously is to hire an experienced trial lawyer who represents personal injury victims. Hiring an attorney lets the insurance company know that you mean business and that they can’t simply brush your case aside with a low settlement offer that doesn’t come close to meeting your needs.
When you talk with a lawyer during a free initial consultation, however, it’s important to ask them how many cases they’ve actually taken to trial and how many of those cases they’ve won on behalf of their clients. Some personal injury lawyers run “settlement mills,” which means their only focus is on getting as many clients as they can and then settling those cases as quickly as possible to collect a fee. Some of these attorneys will avoid going to court at all costs, even if it means going against the best interests of their clients.
Insurance companies also have access to attorney records, including their history of verdicts and settlements. If the lawyer you hire never takes a case to court, the insurance company will know it, and they’ll know they don’t have to worry about your case going to trial. For many insurance companies, the serious threat of a trial is the only thing that will motivate them to make a legitimate settlement offer.
And even then, sometimes their offer isn’t good enough. In many instances, insurance companies won’t make a fair offer for compensation until a trial is already underway and they realize they’re in trouble. In other cases, the insurance company never makes a fair settlement offer, and the only way to address the true costs of a victim’s injury is to take their case before a jury. That’s why you need an experienced injury lawyer who’s ready to take your case to trial and fight on your behalf in court.
Contact Atkins & Markoff if You’ve Received a Low Settlement Offer After a Serious Injury in Oklahoma
If you’ve been seriously hurt and the insurance company has sent you a low settlement offer that doesn’t begin to meet your needs or address the massive costs associated with your injury, you’re not alone. Far too many injured victims in Oklahoma have been in your shoes before, and the experienced team of attorneys at Atkins & Markoff has been able to help many of them.
With more than 100 years of combined experience and more than $100 million recovered for our clients, we’re ready to fight aggressively for justice and compensation on your behalf if we can take your case. We handle all personal injury claims on a “no-win, no-fee” basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we get you a settlement or win your case in court.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, call us at 405-607-8757 or fill out our quick and easy online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation with an attorney from the Atkins & Markoff team today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.