Question

Are there penalties if I refuse an Ohio insurance company’s offer?

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Jerald A. Schneiberg - Workers' Compensation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Jerald A. Schneiberg

Located in Euclid, OHNager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A.

Euclid, OH
Phone: 800-743-2797
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Answer

If you have been injured in a car accident, through a mishap on someone else’s property or through a defective product, you will most likely find yourself negotiating with an insurance company representing the other side. In the case of a car accident, you may also be in negotiations with your own insurer, if you’ve determined that making a claim on your own policy first is the best course of action.

Because negotiation is allowed when making a claim, there are no legal penalties you will face if you reject the first or subsequent offers of an insurance company. You should be wary of the initial value the insurance company offers – they are (for the most part) for-profit corporations and in business to make money. Savvy negotiators do not lead with their best offers. Claim adjusters and other insurance personnel are likely to undervalue the amount of injury or damages you have suffered. On the other hand, if you hire a personal injury attorney at this point, it signals to the insurance company that you understand the worth of your claim and are willing to fight for the compensation you need to heal from your injuries.

If you reject the insurance company’s offer, you and your lawyer should prepare a counteroffer. Your counteroffer should take into account the limits of your insurance policy (if you are negotiating with your own insurer), even if it does not cover all your expenses or damages. One tactic that insurance companies can often use if you reject a settlement offer is to take their time when responding to your counteroffer. They know you are hurting and need funds as soon as possible. Ask your personal injury attorney about resources you can access for treatment if the delay is impacting your injuries.

At some point, if there are several rounds of offers and counteroffers, the insurance company may send you a final offer. This indicates they are no longer open to negotiation. If this offer is not fair and reasonable in addressing your situation, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. This may encourage the insurer to reconsider their final offer and provide settlement terms that are more adequate. Or you may be able to obtain the compensation you need through the litigation process.

In Ohio, you do not ever have to accept the insurance company’s offer if it isn’t what you need to recover. A capable personal injury lawyer can evaluate your situation and help you present offers that will take care of your post-injury needs.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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