It might come as some surprise, but most personal injury cases settle—eventually. When it's time for you (or your lawyer) to negotiate a personal injury settlement, the adjuster might make a settlement offer that is unreasonably low, maybe as a negotiating tactic to see if you understand the value of your claim. Whatever the reason for the adjuster's low-ball offer, do not immediately lower the amount you asked for when you sent your demand letter. Instead, ask the adjuster for reasons why the offer is so low. Then write a brief letter responding to each of the factors the adjuster has mentioned. Here's an example of what this kind of letter might look like:
123 Peach Street
Denver, CO 00000
June 15, 20xx
Rocky Mountain Insurance Company
1000 Throughway Boulevard
Denver, CO 00000
Re: Your Insured, Richard Leonard
Claimant: Angel Ruiz
Claim No.: 93-HQ1234
Date of Accident: January 13, 20xx
Dear Mr. Rubinion:
In our telephone conversation today, you relayed Rocky Mountain Insurance Company's offer to settle my claim for $1,000. However, none of the reasons you gave for such a low offer is supported by the facts.
You claimed that I was as much at fault in the accident as your insured. You assert that I had a duty to avoid hitting him because he was already in the intersection when our cars collided. This assertion is not supported by the facts. Indeed, the police report indicates that your insured had a yield sign, and I had the right of way. Thus, I did not have a duty to avoud hitting your insured and am not at fault for the accident.
In addition, you claimed that I suffered "only a soft tissue" injury, which did not justify either the physical therapy I underwent or my settlement demand. If you look at the record of my X-rays, you will see a narrowing of cervical vertebrae. Therefore, your characterization of my injury as "minor" and as "soft tissue" is completely unjustified.
Because of the slight possibility of some minor comparative negligence in the accident, however, I am willing to reduce by five percent my settlement demand of $15,000. Therefore, I demand the sum of $14,250 as settlement of the claim.
Please provide me with Rocky Mountain's response within 14 days after you receive this letter.
Learn more about settlement discussions with an insurance adjuster and get tips on negotiating a fair personal injury settlement.
This sample letter is an excerpt from How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim by Attorney Joseph Matthews (Nolo), an all-in-one guide to handling an insurance claim after any kind of accident or injury, including strategies for dealing with an insurance company that refuses to make a fair offer.