Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company can seem like an intimidating event. Being prepared can make a world of difference, as well as knowing a few tips on negotiation!
If you are going into a settlement negotiation for the first time, do not get overwhelmed. Here are a few tips on negotiating a settlement with an insurance company. It’s important to remember that many negotiators are trained and experts from years of experience, but if you have the right evidence and attitude, you may find yourself negotiating a much better deal than you thought.
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What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?
To get into the right headspace for negotiation, it’s important to understand the role of the negotiator. An insurance adjuster is hired by an insurance company to investigate a case. However, there is more than just an investigation being done. In fact, many insurance adjusters look at the events in search of any details that could end up reducing the compensation amount and taking away liability from their policy holder.
How Can I Negotiate with Insurance Following an Accident?
One of the most vital tips for negotiating with an insurance adjuster is to be prepared. This means having an idea of how the process goes. If you enter a negotiation unprepared, the insurance adjuster will be more likely to take over the negotiation, lowball the compensation amounts, and act in the best interests of the company.
Being prepared can ensure you are ready to negotiate and settle on an amount that benefits you and makes up for any of the damages obtained from the initial accident. Other tips for the negotiation process include:
Have Prepared Evidence
Make sure to keep any records and documentation related to the expenses. Have copies of all the documents to have as supporting evidence during the negotiation process, including:
- Medical bills for injury treatment and future medications/care needed
- Auto repair estimates
- Quotes for any property damages
- The police report of the incident
- Rental car receipts
- Eyewitness statements
- Photos or videos of injuries, accident scene, and other damages to vehicle/property
- Pay stubs that prove loss of income from injuries
Have an Estimate in Mind
Another vital thing to do before going into a negotiation is walking in with an estimate of the compensation amount. Do a brief calculation to figure out what you would be legally owed.
If you are unsure of what the settlement amount would entail, consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area. A skilled personal injury lawyer will listen to your claim and walk you through the calculations, so you can be confident with the estimate when the time comes for negotiation.
Watch What You Tell the Adjuster
When speaking to an insurance adjuster, it is recommended you don’t downplay the severity of your injuries. It’s important to remember that insurance adjusters are on a mission on behalf of the company to give the least amount of compensation possible. This means that when you are talking with an insurance adjuster, it is important to emphasize how severe your injuries were.
And also, do not, by any means, admit any fault while speaking to an insurance adjuster. Those conversations are often recorded, even if you are not told beforehand. Your words may be used against you if there is something said admitting some liability on your part.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
As soon as you get the first offer from an insurance company, you may be inclined to just take the offer and run. However, it is usually recommended you don’t. This is because it is usually the norm for insurance claim adjusters to first send over a lowball offer.
Reject the offer and make a counter offer in return. This will let the insurance adjuster know that you’ve come prepared and you will not easily take the low amount they are looking to give at first.
Get the Offer in Writing
You are entitled to ask the insurance adjuster to send the documentation laying out how they came to the value of their offer. After receiving the documents, you can then see if the values match the damage costs.
It is not uncommon for some values in the offer to be incorrect or missing, so this can also be a good reason to get the insurance company’s offer in writing.
Should I Speak to a Lawyer Before Insurance Negotiation?
Sitting down with a personal injury attorney before a settlement negotiation can put you at ease and leave you feeling more prepared. A personal injury lawyer can provide you with the key details your claim may need to become stronger, and can also give you estimates and other supportive information to prepare you for insurance negotiation. In fact, your personal injury lawyer could even do the negotiating for you.
Many injured people choose to hire a personal injury lawyer to be the bridge of communication between an insurance company. This is because a personal injury lawyer has the experience, knows what to say or not to say, and can offer you more legal options in case a negotiation goes wrong, i.e. there may need to be a lawsuit filed.
What Can a Settlement Cover for Me?
If you are satisfied with the settlement negotiation, you can use the compensation for a number of things. For example, you can use the compensation amount to cover items such as:
Medical expenses after an accident are many. You may need to cover the costs of past injury treatment, medications, physical therapy, and even at-home care.
Whether your car, bike, or other property was damaged, the fact of the matter is that repairs can be extensive and pricey. Expensive repairs can feel even more necessary if your household shares one car or other similar circumstances.
Loss of Income
Personal injury incidents, such as vehicle accidents, leave many people unable to resume their daily routines. This includes going into work and earning a paycheck for their households. Luckily, loss of income can also be covered by an insurance settlement.
What if I Can’t Reach a Settlement on My Own?
You’ve prepared to negotiate a settlement that rightly covers your damages. Unfortunately, the insurance is dragging their heels or looking to put more liability on you to lower the settlement amount. What can you do?
Do not let insurance adjusters try to give you less compensation than you deserve. Instead, sit down with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim. A personal injury lawyer has the experience of representing various clients in response to insurance companies. If your claim has been denied or you are being consistently lowballed, let a personal injury attorney represent you.
Personal injury attorneys can file appeals for you in the case of denied insurance claims, and they can also try to negotiate another settlement. And if it comes down to it, personal injury lawyers can start the lawsuit process to get an insurance company to hopefully reverse any rejections and start negotiations for better compensation for you. Don’t delay, sit down with an expert San Diego personal injury lawyer and start preparing for a negotiation settlement today!