Depending on the scope of your injuries, you may be able to negotiate a car accident insurance claim settlement without the aid of an attorney. But is that a good idea?
The more extensive your injuries are, the more necessary it will be to have an experienced accident attorney advocate on your behalf. And for minor injuries that don’t require that you miss time from work, there’s an art to negotiating with insurance companies that personal injury attorneys have mastered over the years.
For serious injuries, you should leave the negotiation to the professionals. Russell & Lazarus APC has successfully negotiated fair and honest settlements from insurance companies after our clients suffered a personal injury due to another’s negligence. Call us today.
It’s Best to Speak to an Attorney First
While you’re free to use this information however you want, your best course of action will be to have an experienced car accident attorney manage your claim for you. Yes, they will take a cut of the award, but they will also ensure that you maximize your claim. The more extensive your damages are, the more important it is that you enlist the aid of someone who understands the process and how the game is played.
That being said, there is a strategy for dealing with insurance companies.
Writing Your Demand Letter
The first part of the car accident insurance claim settlement process is writing a demand letter. In a personal injury lawsuit involving a traffic accident, there are a number of damages you can claim. Those include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses;
- Property damages as a result of the accident;
- Past, present, and future loss of earnings from work;
- Pain and suffering;
- Any loss that is directly related to the accident.
In the demand letter, you specify any damages you have. That includes any evidence you’ve collected to back up those claims. The insurance adjuster will counter with an offer of their own. It’s important to remember that whatever you can prove you are entitled to collect 100% fully. Once you accept the insurance adjuster’s offer you can no longer go back and renegotiate that claim. You will only have one chance to negotiate the best car accident insurance claim settlement.
Understanding the Negotiation Process
Typically, insurance adjusters will counter with a lower offer and the two of you will meet somewhere in the middle. However, there is no reason to back off from economic damages. Any bill or lost time from work you suffered as a result of the accident should be paid in full. What you can negotiate is elements like pain and suffering.
Again, it’s hard to recommend this process to those who are not familiar with insurance negotiations because you will only get one chance to litigate this claim. If you sign off on a lowball offer, that’s it. You’re locked into that agreement forever. If you later show signs of continued pain or require a second surgery to repair damage, you’re out of luck. The deal is signed.
Dealing With a Low Offer
Insurance adjusters do this for a living and they negotiate claims against lawyers, not laypeople. They will generally try to lowball you just to see that you know what you’re doing. They will ask you questions as if they’re trying to help you and trick you into divulging information that may damage your claim.
When the insurance adjuster leads with a low offer, you can force them into the position of justifying that offer. Remember, there are laws that govern the process of how traffic accident claims are managed. The insurance adjuster is not free to do whatever they feel like. They can, however, force you into the position of proving every claim you are making. If you’re claiming you have whiplash, that’s fine, but they want to see a doctor sign off on that. If you’re claiming you’re suffering serious pain, they want a doctor to sign off on that.
Every claim you make needs to be justified by the evidence. Without that evidence, the insurance adjuster can brush off you claim and refuse to honor it.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Negotiating a car accident insurance claim settlement yourself is not advisable when the stakes are very high. Those who have serious injuries, permanent impairment, or require a rehab and recovery period need to elicit the aid of a skilled personal injury attorney. Russell & Lazarus APC have successfully negotiated settlements for severely injured clients. Don’t sign off on a car accident insurance claim settlement prematurely. Contact us today.