Unfair Auto Insurance Tactics: Lowball First Offer
Have you been in a car accident and now the insurance company is reaching out to you, offering you some fast money? That might sound like a good thing, but be careful.
There are several things you need to know before you decide to close out your claim with the insurance company and today we’re going to show you how to spot a lowball offer from the insurance company so you are not taken advantage of.
Lowball offers are nothing new, but insurance companies are getting much more aggressive in their approach to persuading you into settling an auto accident injury claim for the lowest amount of money possible. They are even reaching out to people within several days of an accident happening.
The adjusters I have spoken with admit that this is a new tactic. And it has one purpose, to make the insurance companies more money at your expense.
How To Spot A Lowball Offer
Just the other day, I had a client call stating she received a settlement offer from GEICO only three days after the accident. The offer did not take into account any of her specific injuries, lost wages or medical bills. Let’s take a closer look at this.
Dear, so and so, this letter is in regards to the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident that occurred on August 1, 2022. Please note we have not yet received medical or lost wage documentation to support your claim, but based on our initial conversations, it appears that you sustained soft tissue injuries and are currently in treatment.
We would like to extend an offer to you in the amount of $4,000 to resolve all claims and liens today. Please review this offer as soon as possible as we are eager to come to a resolution.
A lowball offer can be easy to spot if several factors are present. The offer is made quickly, without proper evaluation of your injuries or losses, and you are being pressured into accepting the offer before seeking further medical treatment or legal representation.
How To Respond To An Insurance Company Lowball Offer
Many clients have reported receiving these letters within the first several days following an accident. They often call us asking if it is a fair offer and if they should respond. Let’s break it down.
In most cases, you should not respond without first speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer. Here’s why. First, they make you a cash offer in hopes that you will take the money and run. Once the offer is made, they often begin pressuring you to accept the offer with phone calls, text messages and emails. Giving you a deadline and telling you to accept this deal.
While the immediate offer may be appealing, remember this, they have not even read the medical reports yet. In fact, you may not have even started the recommended treatment or physical therapy programs advised by your doctor since it has only been a couple of days since the accident. How could they possibly know the value of your auto accident claim? What, do they have a crystal ball?
So what do we do when you receive an offer letter like this? The first thing you should do is call our experienced auto accident attorneys at Saiontz and Kirk, and here is why.
When an insurance company makes you one of these lowball offers, they are actually betting that your case is worth substantially more than what they’ve offered you. Insurance companies make these quick offers based on a one-sided, calculated approach in order to save them money, because they know if you are given the time and opportunity to seek the proper medical treatment for your injuries, the value of your claim will more than likely increase based on the medical findings and doctors evaluation.
What Is An Accident Claim Value Based On?
An auto accident claim is based on several factors that would not have happened within just a couple days of the accident.
Lost Wages: Your lost wages are based on the time missed from work due to your injuries and medical treatment. Of course, this time has to be authorized by the doctor.
Medical Bills: This includes all medical bills that you have received from seeking treatment for your injuries related to the accident.
Pain and Suffering: Now, that’s a big one. That’s going to be the actual pain that you’ve been dealing with. It’s going to be the physical restrictions you’ve been dealing with. It’s going to include loss of enjoyment of activities. And the biggest one is, have you made a full recovery or do you have ongoing issues that are going to continue into the future?
Consequences of Accepting A Lowball Offer
It is important to understand that auto accident settlements are final. If you accept their offer, you can NOT reopen the claim. You get one bite at the apple and you want to make sure it’s the biggest bite you can get.
For example, if you accept the $4,000 offer within a couple of days of the accident, you don’t know yet what your lost wages are going to amount to, what your medical bills are going to total or whether you are going to make a total recovery from those injuries.
The worst possible scenario would be you accepting that $4,000 offer, and then months later, you’re looking at $20,000 worth of medical bills. Now you’ve left 16,000 dollars on the table, let alone all the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
And here’s why that really matters, because like I said, you only get one bite of the apple. You need to know whether you’ve made a full recovery or whether you’re going to have future needs for more medical care or problems in the future.
The problem with these initial lowball offers is it takes none of this into account. How can they? They’re making you an offer within days, often before any medical assessment of your auto accident injuries have been performed.
They don’t know how much your medical bills are. They don’t know how much your lost wages are. And they don’t know how you’re going to recover from these injuries.
Don’t let the insurance companies take advantage of you. They know we are all hurting out there. They know that inflation’s high. They know people need some money in their pocket. But they want to keep as much of the money as they can in their own pockets. And they’re trying to keep money from you by making you this offer now!
What To Do After Receiving A Lowball Offer
If you have received one of these lowball initial offers, give us a call. We can talk about it. If you have a phone, you have a lawyer. Remember, consultations are always FREE here and you never pay anything out of your pocket to us. We’re only entitled to a fee if we actually collect damages for you at the end of your claim.
So you’re wondering, what should I do? Call Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. I will go over your case, your circumstances, and your exact details and give you the professional advice you deserve. It’s not one size fits all. For some, the advice might be to accept the offer. For others, it’s going to be definitely do not accept the offer.
Unfortunately, serious car accidents and large truck accidents in Maryland are far too common. If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced Maryland car accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
The attorneys and staff at Saiontz and Kirk have decades of experience making sure that our clients are fully compensated for all injuries you may have suffered due to a Maryland auto accident. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-522-0102 or request a free consultation with the form below.