Negotiating with an insurance adjuster after an accident can be tricky. Some people mistakenly enter negotiations with the wrong mindset and fail to win a fair settlement. Adjusters are more than just the people who process your claim. They are professional negotiators and you need to be prepared to handle the process. If you are ready to negotiate your claim, here are some tips to remember.
Know the Minimum Settlement Amount
Ideally, when you contact the insurance company for the first time, it is in a demand letter that details exactly how much you want to settle for. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and he or she will determine whether or not the amount is reasonable. It is unlikely that the adjuster will agree to the full amount and immediately pay you. It is more likely that he or she will counter with a lower offer.
It is because of this, you need to know the lowest amount you are willing to accept for your claim. Not only should you factor in medical bills, missed earnings, and other physical damages, you also need to determine how much intangible damages are worth. For instance, you need to determine how much you should be paid for pain and suffering that resulted from the accident that caused your injuries.
When you send your demand letter for payment, you can use the minimum you are willing to accept as the base for how much you are asking for. Always ask for more than the minimum. The space between the minimum and your starting point can be the room needed to negotiate towards a fair settlement.
Delays in the negotiation process can have a negative impact on your case. There are laws in place that dictate how long you have to take legal action after an accident. Chances are, your adjuster is working on more than just your case, and as a result, delays can occur.
To avoid hurting your case, be persistent. Follow up with the insurance adjuster on a regular basis. For instance, if he or she requested additional information from your doctor, ensure he or she receives it, then follow up with the adjuster within a few days.
To protect yourself, follow up in writing. Emails and certified letters can be the proof you need of the insurance company's failure to attempt to settle the case in the event that you have to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Your personal injury attorney can help you find other ways to keep negotiations with the insurance company on track. Work with an attorney from the beginning to improve the chances of getting a fair settlement.