Is the Insurance Company Lowballing You With Its Settlement Offer?

April 10, 2024
Savage, Royall & Sheheen

Insurance companies often offer you pennies on the dollar in exchange for your legal right to compensation after an accident. People have come to expect that this is how insurance companies will do business.

However, there is a way that insurance companies may take this too far. The insurance company’s tactics may cross the line to be bad faith, where you can sue them directly. You increase the chances that the insurance company will deal with you fairly when you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

Call the Camden personal injury attorneys at Savage, Royall & Sheheen, LLP today to learn more about your legal rights.

Why Insurance Companies Negotiate With Low Initial Offers

A lowball settlement offer is for a fraction of what you are due. The insurance company wants to signal its intent to settle the case, although it is in no hurry to do so.

Insurance companies view a settlement as the culmination of an entire negotiating process. They will never show all their cards at once. The insurance company wants to move towards an actual settlement agreement little by little.

An insurer’s goal is to drag out negotiations long enough to tire you down, all so that you will accept a lower offer. They may also hope to get lucky and have you accept an offer that is far less than you may deserve.

When you get a lowball from the insurance company, they may be testing you to see what you are willing to accept. When you have an experienced attorney on your side, you will not be vulnerable to receiving a low settlement offer.

The best way to know how to deal with a lowball settlement offer is to know how much your claim is worth in the first place. This information is perhaps the most important knowledge that you can have in the claims process.

How an Attorney Helps Protect Against Lowball Offers

Hiring an experienced attorney for your case levels the playing field. During your consultation, you may share your medical bills with a lawyer and start the process of recovering those expenses, including the recovery of intangible losses from your accident. Your lawyer ultimately knows how much your case is worth, both because they have extensive experience helping those like you, and since they will work with expert witnesses to learn the value of your case.

Your lawyer can advise you to reject any settlement offer that does not come close to fairly paying you.

There are two possible ways that you can counter a low settlement offer:

  • You can reject the low settlement offer and counter with a demand of your own.
  • You can sue the responsible party in court (or continue to proceed with a lawsuit that you have already filed).

Either way, you are under no obligation to accept a settlement offer just because the insurance company made it. You have a legal right to full and fair financial compensation. If the insurance company will not honor it, you can put pressure on them by filing a lawsuit.

Lowball Settlement Offers Can Be Bad Faith Insurance Tactics

There are times when insurance companies can cross the line when they are trying to negotiate with your case. If the insurance company dramatically undervalued your claim, there can be a point when it may be illegal.

Insurance companies may act in bad faith during the claims process. Then, they can be held responsible in a lawsuit, and they may owe you damages directly. The insurance company may need to pay you for things like emotional distress and the financial losses that they have caused you. If their conduct is bad enough, a jury may order an insurance company to pay you punitive damages in your lawsuit.

Under South Carolina law, you cannot directly sue another party’s insurance company for bad faith. However, there is a way where you can take action against the insurance company.

Here, you would need to put your case to a jury and win a verdict against the responsible party. The verdict would have to be more than the insurance coverage that they have. You might agree with the responsible party not to pursue damages from them directly, in exchange for the right to sue the insurance company for bad faith. You would then be able to hold the insurance company responsible for their conduct in handling your settlement.

Contact a Camden Personal Injury Attorney Today

It is plain and simple — the insurance company will walk all over you if you do not have someone to stand up for you. The personal injury attorneys at Savage, Royall & Sheheen, LLP know how to fight back on behalf of our clients.

To get your fair money’s worth in an insurance claim, it is crucial to engage us early in the legal process to maximize our effectiveness as your lawyers. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys, you can message us through our website, or you can call us today at 803-432-4391.

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