Can insurance company refuse to negotiate settlement offer?

Mr J and I were in a car accident and now it’s time to settle. They made one offer to Mr J and they’ve refused to even negotiate on their offer.

They have negotiated with me (though not much), but they wont budge for Mr J. Even the claims adjuster’s superviser has the same bitch “take it or leave it” approach.
We’re dealing with Farmers Insurance. I’ve read that they can be a shady company to deal with (on various questionable internet sources).

Can they refuse to negotiate? Are there any laws/rules?
(I’m seeking legal advise elsewhere… but if anyone has insider info that would be helpful, please share.)

What type of settlement? Injury, property damage?

Neck and back injuries to both of us. Nothing life threatening or severe but we’re both still suffering from it (since July 06).

The other driver was at fault. The car was totalled and we settled that part of the claim with our insurance company within a week or so of the accident. Now we’re trying to settle the injury part.

This is not intended as legal advice of any kind. I am not your lawyer. I don’t have any expertise in insurance law. I’m not licensed to practice where you live.

My comment to you is: discuss legal matters with an attorney who HAS expertise in insurance law, and is licensed to practice where you live. You can get specific information from that person relative to the particular facts of your case and the law of your jurisdiction.

On edit, what Bricker said.

Gotcha. Have you completed treatment? I wouldn’t even talk settlement until then. (my opinion based on 11 years in the insurance industy, 4 of them handling auto claims)

That being said, it depends on the severity of the injuries, the cost of the medical treatment and how much money there is to go around. A few things to look at, how much coverage did the other person have? How many people were injured in the accident?

It may be that there just isn’t much money left to go around, so they don’t have a lot of wiggle room in the settlements. It could also be that they have determined that this is the amount they are willing to pay and think you’re being unreasonable. There are a number of possiblities.

One thing I’ve learned with insurance companies, they always say they can’t (or won’t) negotiate,. but they can always negotiate.

They will always lowball you first. Most people take the first amount because the insurance company says they can’t offer more. It’s crap. They can. And when you push, they will (if you are pushing for something reasonable).

If you’ve been dealing with them yourself, out of court, the insurance company has no reason to offer anything higher. If you get a lawyer involved it might go to court and the stakes are higher.

Like said above, talk with several lawyers. Most will have a free introduction interview and they’ll tell you what they think will be the outcome. They’ll know what your claim is worth and what is reasonable to ask for. The lawyer gets paid based on a percent of your settlement. They’re not going to want the lowball offer.

I’m in the same boat. I was in a car crash Oct 2nd (his fault - rear-ended me going about 45mph) and have been physiotherapy ever since. I have a lawyer handling my claim for me. We’re waiting at least a year before we talk about settling. We want to make sure I have no on-going issues due to the crash.

If you are still suffering from your crash now is NOT the time to settle (something tells me Farmers Insurance is telling you “it’s time to settle”). How are you supposed to get compensated for pain and suffering if your pain and suffering isn’t over?

The truth is, they want you to settle now, out of court, while you’re still hurting. It’s cheaper for them. If you wait a year or two and have medical proof you’ve been suffering the entire time, that isn’t going to go well for them in court.

Get a lawyer.

I don’t know where you are but as far as I know, in most states in the US, you can’t sue for an auto accident unless you have a permanent injury. If your pain and suffering are over, there is nothing to sue for.

Cite? I’m not being mean here, but that’s not even remotely close to my understanding of the law in any jurisdiction.

I’ve never heard of this rule before.

No site sorry. Just work with lawyers from various states that have a cow if our patients aren’t assigned permanent impairments because I have been told their cases go out the window. I assumed that was the norm. I have a draw full of “Letters of Protection” from lawyers that state if there is a settlement, my bill will get paid. If we assign a 0 impairment, the cases are dropped and I rarely get a dime. (Which is why I don’t accept those letters anymore but that is a rant for the pit).

However, I will be the first to admit that I could be mistaken as to Auto settlements if there is no permanency (and I really don’t have the time nor inclination to research it further). This is just what has been explained to me that I have accepted as fact.

Flat out wrong in my state, and likely wrong elsewhere, too. Permanent injuries and disability ratings increase the amount of damages, but are not required to file suit. If you had your arm broken in a car wreck, but it healed and no longer hurts, you still have a case for damages if the other guy caused the accident.

For the OP, Bricker, **Seven ** and Antinor01 have shared wisdom. The only thing I’d add is that there is a clock ticking in the background. Your case has a statute of limitations–a period of time during which you can file suit. If you let the statute expire, you lose any right to sue. The time period would vary according to your state’s law. Check with a local lawyer for advice here.

Check with your state’s Department of Insurance. They can give you information about what requirements apply to settlement negotiations.

As an attorney who used to deal with personal injury claims (usually on the side of the insurer), let me repeat the advice of the other attorneys on the Board:


The consult with a PI attorney is usually (almost always) free, because the case would be taken on a contingency fee basis (they only get money if they manage to get a settlement or judgment for you). So you can get some good legal advice relevant in the state where you live, something that isn’t always available on a message board (as Foxy 40 so aptly demonstrated :rolleyes: ).

Just so you know… your sources were accurate. Farmers blows goats, then tries to kiss you. With tongue.

Our car had parts stolen from it in our own freaking driveway. I promptly called the police and our agent (same day it happened). The agent said don’t touch it until the cops are done with their investigation, the cops said “We’ll send someone around shortly”.

I called the police desk back the next day… and the next… and the next… and the answer was always the same: don’t touch it, we’ll send someone around.

I called our agent to confirm. He said, do what the cops tell you, you’re fine. Okey-dokey.

The following weekend it was hit again. This time they took the stuff that they must not have had time for the last time - it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Round Two with the agent and the cops. Agent says the same thing; the cops say “Again? Ok, we’ll send someone out today.” The following night a cop shows up, tries to take prints, and says, “Well, it’s been sitting here too long and the rain last night really messed things up. Why did it take so long for you to report it?” My wife went through the roof, I nearly did the same. Took a bit to explain to the cop what was going on.

So it comes to claim time. Farmers says that it was two seperate instances, and we didn’t take steps to secure the car after the first one, therefore they’re gonna charge us the deductible twice. We point out that they told us not to touch it and wait for the cops. They said no, we’d never say that, and of course our agent was suddenly unavailable, or in the hospital, or out of town on vacation, etc. No matter when we called.

We finally managed to get them to agree to total it out, after getting a lawyer friend to write us a nastygram. Even then they tried to lowball it and we had to fight them.

So yeah. Avoid Farmers. Go with someone reputable, like Shady Bob’s Insurance Emporium.

Eh. Sorry for the rant… Farmers really cheeses me off, even to this day.

I’m in Canada but spent a fair amount of time in the US. I personally know someone who was in a motorcycle accident (other persons fault) in Washington State. She got a scrape on her arm and a sprained shoulder muscle. Non-permanent injury. Received $3000-3500 for pain and suffering. Her husband also fell off the bike during the crash and he received a far amount of brusing, but nothing broken or strained. He got a few hundred for his suffering.

A friend of mine in Oregon was rear-ended, spent 6 months or so in physical therapy for severe whiplash, she’s fine now. I think she settled for about 8-10 grand for her pain and suffering.

I’m not sure where you are getting this from.

What you’re saying is someone can be in their car, get smashed by a truck, end up with two broken legs and a broken hip, spent the next few years in wheelchairs, crutches, canes, hospital, physical therapy, but not be able to sue for pain and suffering because after 2 years they were back to normal?

I think you’d be hard pressed to find one case where this was refused.

Bolding mine.

That’s very important which is why the OP needs to speak with a lawyer now. I know for my case I have until Oct 2nd 2008 (two years) to file the suit. I think we’ll settle without needing to go to court.