Have you been in a car accident? Maybe you’ve been injured in a vehicle crash.
If so, your auto accident is one of more than 82,000 in Washington State that occur in any given year. There are approximately 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads annually. It’s no surprise. Roads in America are among the busiest in the world.
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an auto accident, you probably know that immediately after the collision, money is the furthest thing from your mind. You will initially assess your own bodily injuries, and then see if there was any damage done to your vehicle.
But it is in your own best interest – if you end up having a car accident claim – to begin thinking sooner than later about financial compensation if your car sustained damage and/or you were injured.
If you intend to seek compensation in your car accident claim, then you have the right to negotiate for more money. You will be, through your attorney, negotiating with the insurance company, and specifically, the claims adjuster, for the money you are entitled to.
Here, we will present seven tips for successfully negotiating for more money in your car accident claim.
7 Tips for Successfully Negotiating for More Money with the Insurance Company
Seek Legal Representation Right Away
You don’t have to endure the car accident claim process alone. You are encouraged to seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your vehicle accident. Having an attorney immediately strengthens your case.
A highly skilled lawyer will know the rules, and all the loopholes and tactics insurance companies use to prevent you from receiving the money you deserve. With an attorney by your side, you stand a much better chance of receiving a fair and just settlement.
Another benefit of having legal counsel is that they will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. They will be an ardent advocate for your rights, making sure you end up with a positive outcome in your car accident claim.
Think About a Settlement Amount
It is best, with the assistance of your attorney, to consider a specific dollar amount for your car accident claim. Also, decide on a minimum settlement figure that you are comfortable with. This figure is for you only to know, so you can keep your bottom line in mind during the negotiating sessions. Never divulge your minimum amount to the claims adjuster.
It’s helpful to be flexible about your lowest dollar amount for your car accident claim. If the adjuster highlights some facts that you did not previously consider, but will make your claim weaker, you might have to reduce your dollar figure.
Be Cautious About What You Reveal to the Adjuster
It’s helpful to realize that the claims adjuster will do everything possible to use what you say against you. Their overriding objective is to minimize the compensation you receive in your car accident claim. Saving money is all the insurance company cares about.
While you should always be truthful about the circumstances of your auto accident, you also don’t want to divulge anything you will come to regret. It is smart to emphasize the severity of the accident and the injuries you’ve suffered.
Don’t Necessarily Accept First Offer
You can expect that when the claims adjuster – who is representing the insurance company –gives you their initial offer, it will be low. They do this to determine if you are knowledgeable about what you are entitled to receive for your car accident claim.
Even if the first offer is fair and reasonable, you can make a counteroffer that is slightly lower than your demand letter amount. In a demand letter, you – the claimant – set out the facts and circumstances of the car accident, as well as the injuries sustained. The demand letter is the main point of reference for you during the settlement negotiations.
By countering the adjuster’s first offer, it communicates to the adjuster that you are being reasonable and are open to compromise.
Request the Adjuster to Justify a Low Offer
If the adjuster in your car accident claims case issues an absurdly low offer, then it is simply a negotiating tactic to find out if you know what your claim is truly worth. Be sure you don’t decrease the amount you entered in your demand letter.
Instead, request that the adjuster give you detailed reasons for why their offer was so low. Then, take notes from their response. Next, write a short (reply) letter responding to each of the factors the adjuster cited.
Depending on the strength of the adjuster’s reasons, you may consider reducing your demand minimally. However, prior to significantly decreasing the dollar figure, wait to see if the adjuster will send an amended offer after receiving your reply.
When you next communicate with the adjuster, start by asking for a response to your reply letter. More than likely, the adjuster will give you a reasonable offer upon which you’ll be able to bargain and come to a fair settlement.
Highlight Emotional Points
At some point during the car accident claim negotiations, emphasize the most compelling points in your favor – for instance, the insured was totally at fault for the accident. Also, you suffered major injuries, and that your medical costs were reasonable, and/or that you had long-term or permanent physical effects.
It will likely be advantageous to your case to emphasize emotional points that support your claim. If, for instance, you sent to the claims adjuster an especially compelling photo of your demolished vehicle or severe-looking injury, definitely refer to that.
If your injury has hindered your ability to care for your child, disclose to the claims adjuster that your child suffered, as a result. Although it may be impossible to put a dollar amount on emotional distress, and “pain and suffering”, these elements of an injured individual’s losses – damages –will make it more likely that the insurance company will respond with a fair and reasonable settlement offer.
Get the Settlement in Writing
When you reach the point at which the insurance adjuster and you have come to an agreement, right away you will need to verify the terms in a letter to the adjuster. This letter should be concise and clear, and state the dollar amount for which you settled. This letter needs to also include what injuries or damages the settlement covers, and the date by which you anticipate receiving the settlement documents from the insurance company.
Look to Roberts Jones Law to Help You Reach a Favorable Settlement for Your Auto Accident Case
We at Roberts Jones Law will not rest until you obtain the maximum recovery possible, including reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages and money damages for your pain and suffering.
At Roberts Jones Law, our car accident attorneys are with you every step of the way. We meet with you from the very first consultation and will be the same attorneys with you in the event that your case goes to trial.
Be assured, Roberts Jones Law is on your team and will be your advocate, not that of the insurance companies.
We invite you to contact Roberts Jones Law for a free consultation today.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice.