Adjusters use the term nuisance settlement when seeking to dissuade a claimant from going after an insignificant award. Adjusters do not want claimants to understand their right to seek an increase in the size of even a small award.
Defining a nuisance settlement
That 2-word phrase gets used to refer to a claim that does not appear to offer a large award. Still, the claimant retains the right to negotiate the size of such a settlement.
For what reason might an insurance adjuster refer to a given personal injury case as a nuisance settlement?
• Maybe the evidence suggests that the claimant is at fault.
• Perhaps a 3rd party could be found at fault.
• The claimant’s injuries were not caused by the accident.
• The claimant did not have any visible injuries.
What changes can be made in the settlement’s size?
The size of a nuisance settlement is normally determined by the sum total of the medical bills. Sometimes, that size equals an amount that corresponds to ½ the size of the sum for all the medical bills. There is no money for loss of wages, or for pain and suffering in a nuisance settlement.
Even though a nuisance settlement is small, the size of that payment can still be negotiated. Indeed, the legal system even offers a range for the typical nuisance settlements. Suppose, for example, that a victim that has suffered car damage, but no injuries, seeks financial help with car repairs. That same victim might be offered between $500 and $750.
At the other extreme could be a victim that had suffered severe injuries. The projected cost of treatment would be between $2,000 and $3,000. If the adjuster had proposed a settlement figure at the low end of the range, $500, the plaintiff might care to negotiate, in hopes of getting close to $3,000. That would be a change worth fighting for.
The nuisance settlement seems like an attempt to make up for the absence of a specific legal provision in the law. For instance, the statute of limitations, normally 2 years, does not seem fair if a victim’s slow-developing symptoms do not show up with the 2-year window, following the accident. Still, that victim could seek a settlement in the upper range.
In that way, the victim would not get deprived of any compensation, just because he or she had exhibited very slow-growing symptoms. Instead, that same victim would be able to anticipate the arrival of a settlement check, hopefully one that promised access to considerably more than $500. Admittedly, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Mississauga could not get much money from such a check. Still, he or she would acquire added experience with the task of negotiating a final settlement.