Is there any risk in countering a counter-offer regarding a personal injury settlement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there any risk in countering a counter-offer regarding a personal injury settlement?

Brief summary of incident: My girlfriend’s neighbor installed the wrong kind of thermostat and her condo caught fire. My girlfriend’s unit filled with smoke, and I inhaled quite a bit. I coughed/vomited for a few months, lost income at my sales job, and made several trips to the doctor. This happened about 2 years ago but I vaguely remember the claims adjuster offering me a small amount soon after the incident. I finally got around to my counter offer recently and asked for $9,500. I included every relevant bill and a detailed description of how I was affected. The claims adjuster just countered with $5,000. If I absolutely had to I would settle for $5,000 but feel at least $7,500 would be fair. Is there any risk in rejecting their counter-offer and asking for more? Is there any possibility he would offer less than the original $5,000 in response?

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Personal Injury, Washington


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can reject settlement offers with which you are dissatisfied and continue negotiating by making counter-offers.  It is not possible to predict how the claims adjuster will respond.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the neighbor.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
The settlement offer should compensate you for the medical bills, pain and suffering and wage loss.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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