There’s nothing easy about being involved in a car accident. From the trauma of the event to the pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, the road to recovery can be a long one. And while money won’t solve all problems, it has a way of dissipating some of the worry that comes with medical bills, repairing/replacing a vehicle, and moving on with life. But insurance companies don’t cut checks willingly. In order to get what you deserve, you’ll need to negotiate.
6 Insurance Settlement Negotiation Tips
The idea of negotiating with an insurance company is something that turns most peoples’ stomachs in knots. But it doesn’t have to be like this. With a few helpful tips and techniques, you can make it out on top.
1. Hire a Lawyer
There’s a temptation to handle your car insurance injury settlement on your own, but this isn’t something you should attempt to tackle without professional advisory.
“Insurers can be tricky, and they know how to get out of paying on a claim,” Custodio & Dubey, LLP mentions. “It’s best to have a lawyer’s assistance to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation and that you aren’t shortchanged for an accident you didn’t cause.”
2. Gather Ample Evidence
In order to approach insurance settlement negotiations with the leverage you need to obtain a favorable offer, you’ll need a rock-solid case with ample evidence.
Remember to take notes, snap a few pictures, and gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. Your attorney can also help you gather evidence for your case after the fact and formulate a strong demand.
3. Never Accept the First Offer
Never, under any circumstances, should you accept the first offer that the insurance company presents. The insurance company is in the business of paying out as little as possible and will typically give you a low-ball offer to set a price anchor. This initial offer may be just 10-25 percent of the amount they’re willing to pay.
When presented with this initial offer, listen, take notes, and then politely decline the offer and hang up. You can then meet with your attorney, develop counterpoints for each of their statements, and present a reasonable offer. (When coming back with your counter, make sure you emphasize the emotional aspects of your suffering. This is a much more subjective element and can increase the value of your case.)
4. Have a Settlement Figure in Mind
Your compensation goes far beyond current medical bills and damage to your vehicle. You also need to think about future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other factors that are involved.
It’s important to have a settlement figure in mind before negotiating with the insurance company. Your attorney can help you come up with this amount. You can then start your ask 20-25 percent above this amount to allow for back and forth negotiations.
5. Be Patient
Every car accident case is unique. So while it’s hard to put a precise value on your case, it’s important to remember that you do have the right to be fairly compensated for damages, injuries, and suffering. Stick to your guns and don’t give in as a result of fatigue.
Patience may be your greatest attribute in a long settlement negotiation. The insurance company wants to tire you out. The longer you can push through and counterpunch, the more likely that you’ll land on a figure that’s close to what you’re seeking.
6. Get the Settlement Amount in Writing
As soon as a settlement figure is finally agreed upon between you and the insurance company, it’s important that you get it in writing. If the settlement amount isn’t put in writing on official company letterhead, it doesn’t exist. Avoid saying anything that could compromise your case until you have documentation in hand.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
As the victim in a car accident, you deserve the right to be compensated for your injuries and suffering. Don’t let the insurance company make you a victim for a second time. Hire a lawyer, stand up for yourself, and be disciplined enough to wait for the right settlement offer. The process can be grueling, but the extra effort will be worth it in the long run.