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Do Insurance Companies Negotiate Backward in Car Accident Lawsuits?

Very rarely. But you want to be careful.

Some people call me up with this question. “The insurance company just made me an offer. Can they reduce that offer?”

I have only seen an insurance company go back on its offer twice.

One was when the company made an offer early in the trial. After trial started going well for the insurance company, I told them we were willing to take the offer. They said no.

On the other occasion, the insurance company gave the lawyer for the victim a deadline. The company representative said “The offer for $80,000.00 is only good for one week.” The attorney for the victim kept the file open for two months, and then said the victim would take the money.

The insurance company would not pay more than $75,000.00.

But these are the only two personal injury lawsuits I have seen this happen in during the 33 years I have been an attorney.

The insurance company may stop increasing its offer, and may just stand still; but these are the only two cases I have ever seen where the insurer made an offer, and then withdrew it.

There are a couple reasons for this. If the insurance company does it in an uninsured motorist case, they are inviting a lawsuit for bad faith, unless they can show changed circumstances.

And judges get mad when an insurance company “goes backward” in the negotiating process.

All the same, the fact that it can happen at all ought to make you think. If you know bad facts that the other side is going to learn about sooner or later – such as a history of recent treatment for the same type of injury, just before the accident – you want to settle before the insurance company has a chance to learn about that

And you want to avoid doing anything that the other side will consider stupid, or inflammatory – such as demanding $5 million dollars for a sprained back that got better after two months, or delaying settlement unnecessarily until just before trial when there is a pretty good argument that the jury won’t award more than the insurance company’s last offer.

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. Usually, you get the most money by playing smart. If you have a personal injury case in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know what your lawsuit is worth, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Injury Lawyer about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

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