It is not unusual for an insurance company to make an offensively low offer to settle a personal injury claim, especially if the injury victim is not represented by an attorney.
Are insurance companies allowed to do this? Are they allowed to try and settle a case for an amount that is clearly unfair to the person who was injured?
Insurance companies have a legal duty to “act in good faith”. This means that an insurance company is not supposed to unfairly refuse to pay you. Doing so constitutes bad faith and exposes them to damages and sanctions.
However, insurance companies have developed creative ways to get around this by making it “appear” as if they are acting in good faith without in fact doing so.
One technique used by insurance companies is to hire a nurse to review the records and to write a report stating that the accident victim could not have been badly hurt.
Another technique involves paying a doctor to write a report stating that the minimal amount of property damage could not have resulted in the injury claimed.
The adjuster then offers a ridiculously low amount to settle the claim. If the insurance company is accused of acting in bad faith, it uses the report (which they paid the nurse or doctor to write!) to defend their actions.
So even though the law requires insurance companies to “act in good faith”, this does not stop them from making unfairly low settlement offers.
The good news is that we have developed strong and effective strategies to combat these techniques. Understanding the many disingenuous tools which insurance companies use to try and minimize the amount they have to pay you in compensation is an important part of making sure that you get treated fairly. Our priority is always to help you make informed decisions as to what is in your best interest, as opposed to theirs.
If you or a loved one have been hurt, call attorney Bruce A. Blaylock. You can reach us at 301-951-1800, or toll free at 888-215-2968.