A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
Following a car accident, you might have to negotiate with the insurance company to recover compensation for your damages. The negotiation process could end quickly or take several months. If you are new to negotiating with insurance companies, here are some tips to help you come out on top.
Know the Value of Your Claim
Once the insurance company adjuster assesses your vehicle, medical bills, and other related damages, he or she will know exactly what your claim is worth. It is up to you to know, too. If the insurance company suspects that you do not have a true sense of the value of your claim, you could receive a lowball offer that is worth far less than your claim.
When calculating your damages, you need to go beyond just the value of your car and medical bills. You also need to consider lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, transportation to and from your medical treatment, and any other losses you suffered due to the accident. You also need to factor in any future medical expenses you will have as a result of the accident.
If you are working with a car accident attorney, he or she can help with the calculations and even work with experts to determine the value of your claim.
Do Not Be Afraid to Reject the First Offer
Even though the insurance company is aware of the value of your claim and has received an initial settlement offer from you, it is possible you can still receive a weak counteroffer from the adjuster. It is up to you to determine if the offer is satisfactory.
Some people settle for a low offer out of fear that they will not get more from the company. Although this might seem like solid reasoning, you could end up cheating yourself. If your claim is worth far more, do not be afraid to tell the insurance company "no."
If you do reject the offer, be detailed in why you are refusing. Always negotiate with the insurance company in writing so that you have a record of all your interactions. Explain to the company why you feel a higher amount is owed and emphasize the most compelling points of your case. For instance, if you were unable to work for six months, stress that. If you have pictures that show the extent of your injuries, voice that.
Insurance companies know that juries can be fickle and they could be left at the mercy of a plaintiff-friendly jury to decide a case. If the insurance company believes that the jury would be swayed by your injuries and the images, it might be more willing to negotiate with you.Share
3 June 2016