If you find yourself in a situation that requires you to negotiate with an insurance company after an accident, there are some right ways and some wrong ways to approach the negotiations.
Remember the value of both facts and emotional impact
Consider emphasizing facts including: the facts as you know them; the extent of any injuries (including any long-term or physical effects); the reasonableness of your medical expenses; property damage (damage to your car, items in the car or otherwise involved); any other financial impact (e.g., need for physical therapy or other care, loss of income during recovery).
You might want to also highlight any negative impact on personal relationships and your ability to care for loved ones (i.e., a child, spouse or parent). While it can be almost impossible to place value on suffering and emotional distress, these can be factors to raise in achieving a favorable settlement.
The negotiation process takes time
You or your attorney may begin the process by sending a demand letter with a desired settlement amount. It can take a few conversations with the insurance adjuster to come to a settlement agreement. Be patient.
Don’t take the first offer made by the insurance company, and, for large damages, don’t take accept an offer without having an attorney first review the terms.
Have a settlement amount in mind
Decide on a minimum settlement figure that you will accept before speaking with the insurance company. This figure is for your own information. Tell your lawyer, but don’t use it as an initial demand figure or an amount you should reveal to the adjuster.
Make sure all settlement offers and counter offers are in writing
Make sure all settlement offers and counter offers are in writing, and once agreement is reached, make sure the settlement offer is in writing. This letter, written by either you (or your attorney) or the insurance company, should state the settlement amount, the injuries or damages covered by the settlement, and the date of any payment to be made.
The Kelly Law Team is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies following a car accident. If you are a passenger, driver or pedestrian injured in an accident, call us today at 602-283-4122.