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What Happens if You Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company?

What Happens if You Don’t Accept a Settlement Offer From an Insurance Company?

What happens if I reject a settlement offer? Most parties prefer to settle their disputes rather than take them to court. Nevertheless, you are never under any obligation to accept an inadequate settlement offer. Indeed, refusing an insurance company’s settlement offer is normal in settlement negotiations. It doesn’t necessarily mean the negotiation is over.

“Lowball” offers are offers from insurance companies that are so meager compared to your claim’s actual value that you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Insurance companies issue lowball offers in the hopes that you don’t understand the value of your claim or that your finances are in such desperate shape that you will accept a ridiculously low offer just to get your money now.

Strategy 1: Counteroffer and Continue Negotiating

Of course, you should reject an insurance adjuster’s lowball offer, even if they tell you it’s “take it or leave it.” You don’t have to take it because you always have the option of fighting it out in court. 

Knowing that you have this leverage allows you to respond to a lowball offer  – not with an immediate lawsuit, but with a more realistic settlement counteroffer. Hopefully, this counteroffer will kick-start the negotiation process. If it doesn’t, filing a lawsuit should shake things up.

When To Accept a Settlement Offer

You should accept a settlement offer if:

  • It adequately compensates you for all of your damages; or
  • It’s the most you can reasonably hope for under the circumstances.

Only you have the authority to accept a settlement offer unless you delegate that authority to your lawyer. It’s still a good idea to get your lawyer’s opinion on whether you should accept an offer.

Strategy 2: Call Their Bluff and Take Them to Court

Why in the world would you file a lawsuit against an insurance company when you would both rather settle your claim out of court? Because your negotiating strategy won’t have any teeth if you don’t back it up with the threat of courtroom litigation

Filing a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to trial. You can withdraw your lawsuit in exchange for a fair settlement at any time before that point. Following are some reasons why it might make sense to file a lawsuit even if you don’t want your case to go to trial:

  • To beat the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit. You will never have to worry about it again, at least not for this claim.
  • To show the defendant you’re not playing around.
  • To gain access to the pretrial discovery process. 

Other reasons might apply as well, depending on the case.

How You Can Use the Pretrial Discovery Process to Your Advantage

The pretrial discovery process allows you to demand evidence from the other side and seek the aid of the court if they refuse to cooperate. It provides you with several legal weapons you can use to collect game-changing evidence from the other side:

  • Depositions: Under-oath, out-of-court cross-examination of the other side’s witnesses. You can typically use transcripts of such depositions as evidence at trial.
  • Interrogatories: Written questions that the other side has 30 days to answer, in writing and under oath. 
  • Demands for production: You can demand to examine the opposing party’s physical evidence. You can also demand to copy documents in the possession of the opposing party.

Keep in mind that the insurance company can use these same weapons to collect evidence against you. They might demand, for example, that you submit to a medical examination conducted by a doctor of their choice. Either way, gathering evidence using the discovery process will probably shift the negotiating leverage one way or the other.

Return to the Negotiating Table (Hopefully)

If the evidence that you gather during pretrial discovery is strong enough, it acts like a magnet to draw the insurance company back to the negotiating table.

Trial (the Last Resort)

For most parties, trial is the last resort. Don’t worry; fewer than five percent of all personal injury claims end up at trial.

Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

You need a Tampa personal injury lawyer with strong negotiating skills because the odds are you will end up resolving your claim through that means. You also need a lawyer with a reputation for winning in court, ironically, to keep you from getting to that point. Insurance companies won’t want to go up against an attorney with a substantial track record of success at trial.

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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