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Utah Legal Team

Do this after receiving a low settlement offer

November 17th

Do this after receiving a low settlement offer

Accidents put strain on your finances in more ways than one.

Physical therapy, lost wages, medical bills—you have issues to deal with. But when you receive a low-ball settlement offer, it’s like adding insult to injury.

But there’s some good news—you don’t have to accept an offer if you feel that you’re being taken advantage of. Hire a personal injury attorney and fight back.

Why is my settlement offer so low to begin with?

First of all, why do insurance companies send low settlement offers in the first place?

There are multiple reasons, and one of the most common is also the easiest to fix—the claims adjuster may not have had all of the details about your injury.

Other issues might be that:

  • Your accident injuries and pre-existing injuries “overlap”
  • You received medical treatment, but have unexplained gaps in treatment
  • Your vehicle suffered light damage

But regardless of how it happens, the next step after receiving a low offer is to act.

Step-by-step response to low-ball settlement offers

With very simple, straightforward accidents where you’re not seeking large payouts, then you might be able to recover compensation without a lawyer.

But the vast majority of injury cases are not simple. Choosing to represent your own case has serious pitfalls.

When you hire a lawyer, here are the steps you’ll take to negotiate for a payout you truly deserve:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Ask questions
  3. Present the facts of your case
  4. Write your counteroffer
  5. Respond to the insurance company in writing
  6. After you recover, settle

Throughout this process, know that the first offer you receive is generally the lowest dollar amount the at-fault party thinks they can get away with—there’s almost always room to negotiate.

1. Stay calm

It’s normal to feel taken advantage of after receiving a laughably low settlement offer.

But no matter what, resist the desire to respond emotionally—or to accept the offer out of fear.

Your injury attorney will help you negotiate calmly and professionally.

2. Ask questions

The next step is finding out exactly why your initial offer was so low.

As we said earlier, sometimes it could just be because the claims adjuster didn’t have current or full information about your accident and injuries.

Regardless of how or why the offer happened, your lawyer will ask questions to gather information for future negotiations.

3. Collect information and present facts

All documentation regarding your injuries and accident are tools to use in your negotiation.

These include lost wages, medical bills, property damage, police reports, and more.

The more evidence your lawyer collects, the more power you have negotiating a fair offer.

4. Develop a counteroffer

After gathering information, your lawyer will develop a counteroffer.

There’s typically a maximum amount you can expect to receive for injuries, which is affected by insurance policy limits, or in some cases the amount of assets owned by the at-fault party.

There may be several rounds of negotiation, with multiple offers and counteroffers.

Although no lawyer can guarantee that your case won’t go to court, you’ll probably be relieved to know that most injury cases can be successfully settled without a lengthy court battle.

5. Respond in writing

Next, your lawyer will write up a response to your settlement offer which demonstrates any initial, incorrect assumptions or conclusions made by the insurance company.

Your written response includes much of the details we’ve talked about previously, such as proof of your lost wages or salary, police reports, etc.

6. If you do settle, wait until you recover

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that you shouldn’t rush to settle until you’re fully recovered from your injuries.

Early on, especially right after an accident, it’s difficult to know the full extent of your injuries—or how long you might need to miss work.

Warning—you cannot re-negotiate after settling

Settlement offers are binding.

A settlement means that you are accepting money in exchange for either:

  • Ending your lawsuit
  • Giving up certain legal rights

Agreeing to a settlement means you won’t have an opportunity to seek more money if, later down the road, you realize that your injuries are actually more serious than initially thought.

How does a personal injury attorney help negotiate a settlement?

Experienced personal injury lawyers may have reached hundreds of successful settlements for cases similar to yours (and know how to negotiate higher payouts).

Hiring a great lawyer helps even the playing field between an injury victim and the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Remember, insurance companies want you to take as little as possible—it’s how they make money.

In addition, your lawyer will help to put economic value to non-economic damages. For example, an attorney can help you calculate how much your pain and suffering is “worth” in terms of dollars.

Have you been hurt in an accident? Are you facing an offer from an insurance company that doesn’t quite cut it? If so, contact us today—we’ll help negotiate for your future.


Mike McKell is known as an attorney who brings passion to representing both his clients and constituents. He is the founding partner of McKell Thompson Hunter and a current member of the Utah Senate.

*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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