After a tragic auto accident, you can feel disoriented and lost as you recover from physical injuries and deal with vehicle repairs. These are struggles in of themselves, in addition to the financial burdens they add to any pre-existing penny pinching you were doing. It can be confusing to obtain your personal injury settlement, especially if this is your first car accident and you have never dealt with insurance adjustors.
Many auto accident victims just like you do not understand how to receive the compensation they more than deserve. Our law firm is committed to educating you on the best negotiation tips you can utilize as the at-fault driver’s insurance company discusses settlements with you. We want you to know how to negotiate an insurance settlement so you see real results in your auto accident case.
Whether you communicate with the opposing party alone or hire an attorney for legal advice, here are practical steps you can take to obtain the money you need to cover medical bills, property damages, etc.
1. Send a Demand Letter with Supporting Documents to Initiate a Claim
To begin your insurance settlement negotiations, it is vital that you present a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company via email or postal service. This document seeks to justify your fair compensation that will cover all of your unfair and unexpected expenses.
There are several key elements of demand letters that you should include to make an impression on the insurance adjuster, such as what injuries you sustained, what the medical treatment/vehicle repair costs were, etc. However, these claims cannot stand without copies of original documentation that the insurance company can evaluate, aiding your negotiation process.
This specific accident information will help support your arguments for why the other person is legally responsible for your injuries, which you or an accident attorney need to make in your demand letter. Instead of just creating a list of bills the opposing party needs to pay, you are also explaining to the insurance adjustor why they are obligated to compensate you in those ways.
2. Have a Fair Settlement Amount in Mind
Determine how much you believe would be fair compensation before negotiating with an adjuster via sending your demand letter. This baseline dollar amount will assist you in judging the quality of the opposing party’s settlement amount, ensuring they do not take advantage of your vulnerable situation. If you are unsure what fair compensation would look like in your specific case, you have the option of hiring a personal injury lawyer, who can bring clarity with a reasonable figure.
However, if the insurance company offers a lower amount and makes a point that weakens your claim, you might need to reconsider the minimum amount you want to settle for or counter their offer with even stronger support for your claim. You have the ability, in this case, to write another demand letter with any new auto accident evidence or injury development that can increase your settlement amount to what you believe is fair.
3. Do Not Accept the First Offer
Remember when negotiating with claims adjusters that every auto insurance company is out to maximize profit, so they will pay you as little as possible for your claim. This is why their initial offer will almost never be reasonable and be less than what you actually deserve. Rather than help you obtain your best personal injury settlement, their goal is to protect their profits by presenting a minimum settlement offer, often when you are still in the hospital or dealing with crash trauma.
It is wise, therefore, to examine your first offer with care and consult a car accident lawyer if you believe necessary. Refer back to your demand letter and fair compensation amount in your mind when analyzing your first settlement offer, asking yourself, “Does the insurance company’s dollar amount cover all my expenses? Is my case potentially worth more than what they are telling me?”
4. Emphasize the Points in Your Favor
You do not need to keep repeating the points you made in your first reply during the negotiation process: you only need to emphasize the strongest points in your favor. For instance, if you missed work because of the accident, provide the estimated current and future wages you will lose and drive home why you deserve your fair settlement amount.
Pain and suffering are also crucial case elements that insurance adjustors consider when calculating your compensation, so you should make a strong emphasis on these when negotiating. These include both physical pain, such as back injuries and broken bones, and emotional suffering, like PTSD and psychological trauma. Again, you need to put them into your initial demand letter, but also drive these types of damages home for a more favorable settlement agreement.
Negotiation Experts in All Auto Accident Cases
It can feel impossible to negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that covers all your injuries and vehicle expenses, especially when you are the victim of a severe car crash. In addition to the physical pain and emotional suffering you dealt with during the accident, these often develop and increase over time. Your traumatic situation progressively gets worse in the long term and you also carry the responsibility of dealing with the opposing party’s insurance company.
Whether this is your first car accident or you need advice on how to negotiate in your specific case, a personal injury lawyer can help. Our team, helping hundreds of clients with their tragic auto accident claims, has extensive knowledge on negotiation tips you can draw from. We would be happy to answer any questions you have by calling our law firm at (334).269.3230.