How Many Counter-Offers Should I Make?
You just rejected the insurance company’s initial settlement offer and submitted your first counter-offer. Congratulations! You have just triggered a potentially lengthy negotiation process which means you are one step closer to getting settlement offer you deserve. There will be a lot of back and forth between you and the insurance company. If you are wondering how many counter-offers you should make, the answer is – it depends.
The number of counter-offers you choose to submit depends on the details of your case and the insurance company. There is no fixed in stone number of counter-offers that you have to submit. Every claim and insurance company is different. Thus, the number of counter-offers made varies from claim to claim. You could very well end up with a reasonable settlement offer after one counter-offer.
But you will most likely go through more than one counter-offer in order to receive a fair amount. By submitting more than one counter-offer, you are essentially prolonging the negotiation process. Negotiations can last weeks, a few months or more.
Is it a Reasonable Offer?
After you make your counter-offer, you will receive another offer from the insurance adjuster. The adjuster may take some time getting back to you with another offer. Be patient. You do not want to harm your chances of getting a fair offer by constantly calling the adjuster before he or she has had the chance to calculate a new offer. Once the adjuster has made an offer, you can either accept, reject, or make another counter-offer. In order to make your decision, you must determine if the offer is reasonable.
A reasonable, fair offer will cover medical costs, damage to your vehicle, and other losses related to the accident, such as towing. You should also factor in future costs such as: long term care required for your injuries and future lost wages. Although, you may not know the exact amount of future costs, you should have an estimated range based on past receipts. Your medical bills and other related receipts will help you come up with a reasonable figure that you can compare with the insurance adjuster’s settlement offer.
Do not be afraid to include emotional points during your counter-offers. Emotional factors such as: the accident causing you pain and suffering, your inability to engage in your favorite activities like sports or painting, or the negative impact your injuries have on your spouse and children should all be included in determining a fair offer. Although, it is difficult to put a dollar amount on these emotional points, it is not unheard of to use them during negotiations to get a reasonable offer.
Know Your Insurance Policy Coverage
Additionally, you should be mindful of your insurance policy coverage when you are in the midst of negotiations and making counter-offers. Your counter-offers should not be higher than the amount your insurance policy is willing to cover, even if your medical bills are higher than the coverage limit. Bear in mind your insurance policy coverage when you are determining whether the adjuster’s offer is fair.
Ideally, you and the adjuster can submit multiple counter-offers until both you and the insurance company come to an agreement on a fair settlement offer. However, once an insurance adjuster comes back with a final offer, you cannot make another counter-offer. A final offer from the adjuster usually indicates that he or she is no longer willing to negotiate. This does not mean you have to accept the final offer, you can choose to litigate.
Is this the Insurance Company’s Final Offer?
To determine whether this is indeed the final offer, you should directly ask the adjuster. If it is the final offer, you must make a decision to either accept or reject the final offer. Do not reject the offer simply because you want more money. Reject it because it is not within the range of the reasonable amount you have set. Additionally, you should ask for an explanation behind the amount given by the adjuster. These explanation may help you in your decision to accept or reject the final offer. Are these explanations reasonable? Do they justify the amount that was offered? If you do choose to reject the final offer, you have the option to litigate and have the court decide your settlement offer.
Before choosing to litigate, you should consider the following:
- The court can either reward you more or less than the adjuster’s final offer
- The duration of the litigation
- The cost of going to court
- The court will not hear anything about the negotiation process or the final amount given by the insurance adjuster
Know Your State’s Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a deadline for you to file your personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you essential give up your right to file a lawsuit regarding that claim. This means that if you reject the insurance adjuster’s final offer and missed the deadline to file your lawsuit, you will not be able to recover any damages nor relief despite how convincing your lawsuit is. The statute of limitations varies from state to state.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations regarding personal injuries depends on the type of accident that occurred. If the accident involved motor vehicles, you must file lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. For all other accidents, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is two years of the date of the accident. The statute of limitations may be extended if the injured party is not aware of the injury. Hence, the statute of limitation will not start until the injured party is reasonably aware of his or her injuries.
Get Legal Help
Settlement negotiations can be a long tiring process. If you need professional guidance during the negotiation process or choose to reject the insurance adjuster’s final offer and litigate your case, contact McCormick & Murphy for assistance.
Disclaimer: Information provided on this site is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always get a formal case evaluation from a licensed attorney if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.