After you’ve been in an accident, the process of recovery is often long and arduous. Complicating the matter is trying to get a just settlement from an insurance company. Insurance companies are businesses, after all, and they will be seeking to limit the amount they will be forced to pay out after an accident, meaning you’ll have to fight to get the type of settlement you need. Some people find this task intimidating, but with a little preparation, there is no reason you can’t successfully negotiate with the insurance company to get the type of pay out you need.
Read on to learn five easy tips to help you negotiate with an insurance company for a worthwhile settlement after you’ve been hurt in a car accident.
Understand How the Negotiation Process Works
To begin with, it’s important to understand how your negotiation will work. First, you will file a claim with the insurance company in the form of a demand letter. Next, the insurance adjuster—the person that reviews your claim and will negotiate with you—will examine the facts of your case and offer you a settlement. In turn, you will counter the offer, which the adjuster will either accept or will offer you another proposal. This process will continue until you and the insurance company agree on a settlement. Now that you understand the process, we can move on to a few tricks to help you get the settlement you need.
1. Stay Firm on Your Bottom Line Amount
Following your accident, it is likely that you will have tremendous costs to deal with in the form of medical bills and lost wages. You should use these costs to formulate a bottom line settlement price that you will not budge from. This is the absolute lowest payment that you will need to move on from your accident the way that you deserve. No matter what the insurance company offers you, you should not accept any settlement that is under your bottom line. Having this number in mind at the start of negotiations will help you to be more confident and assertive of your needs.
2. Resist Taking the Initial Offer
The oldest negotiation trick in the book is to make the first offer artificially low—a tactic the insurance company is sure to employ. Adjusters do this both to test your resolve and to lower the insurance company’s payout. You should never accept the first offer, even if it is above your bottom line amount. Insurance companies will always have room to raise the settlement price, which is why their first offer is almost always low. Stand firm and wait for a better, higher offer to come along.
3. Don’t Accept Offers that Can’t Be Explained
It’s important to remember that the adjuster you’re negotiating with works for the insurance company, not for you. What this means is that the adjuster will try and take advantage of your inexperience in the hopes they can slip a bad offer past you. For any offer that you receive, insist that the adjuster explain to you how they arrived at that number. An inadequate or flimsy explanation generally indicates that the offer is unfair and should be avoided. Once the adjuster reaches a fair price, they will be able to fully explain their thought process to you.
4. Make Sure There is a Paper Trail
Keeping proper records is important in every single area of your life, including your insurance claim negotiation. After you and the adjuster have reached a settlement that you’re happy with, make sure to get everything in writing. Never rely on verbal agreements. A formal, written contract will protect you from the possibility that the insurance company tries to back out of the deal at the twelfth hour. Physical records will give you a solid base for a lawsuit, should it come down to that.
5. Protect Your Interests After You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
Negotiating with an insurance company can be a very difficult process, even for experts. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and need help fighting the insurance company, then you need the expert representation of the McMahan Law Firm. With offices in Chattanooga and Knoxville, the McMahan Law Firm can provide you with the legal advice and representation that you need to fight the insurance companies for your just settlement. Contact us today to get started on your personal injury case.