If you made a personal injury claim, the insurance company would contact you sooner or later to discuss the settlement. However, how you handle the communication with the insurance company will determine if you get maximum compensation for your damages or if you get pressured into accepting an unreasonably low offer. Continue reading to learn what to do if the insurance company approaches you to settle the claim.
Determine a Settlement Amount
The first thing you should do is thoroughly review your insurance policy so you know all the relevant information. It will also help you to determine a reasonable settlement amount. Of course, you want the maximum compensation; however, having the minimum number in mind will help you decide on the minimum settlement you would accept from the insurance company. It’s a good idea to get an estimate for all your damages from a professional to get a fair assessment of the expenses that you would incur.
Do Not Accept the First Offer
According to Tucson personal injury lawyers Wattel and York, the insurance adjusters are experienced and trained in settlement negotiations and will probably start with a low offer. In most cases, the insurance company approaches the claimant with a settlement offer within a few days after the claim is initiated. Getting the claimant to accept the first offer is a common tactic used by insurance companies to avoid paying higher settlements.
The first offer can be low compared to your expectations. However, you should not worry about that at this stage, as this is a common tactic. If this happens, you can ask the insurance adjuster to justify their first settlement offer and make notes of the specific reasons they provide you for the amount so that you can reply to all those reasons in your response letter. After you send the response letter, you should wait for a reply from the insurance adjuster. On your next meeting with the insurance adjuster, you can ask them about their response to your letter and the insurance adjuster may offer you a higher settlement. If they don’t go higher even after all your efforts, you can consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action.
Know That the Insurance Adjuster Can Go Higher
Another tactic insurance adjusters can use when making the first settlement offer is to convince the claimant that they do not have the authority to offer a higher amount for the settlement. You should know that the adjuster has the authority to go higher. If this happens, you do not have to go over all facts of the case with your insurance adjuster again. Instead, you can emphasize the points that strengthen your case.
Consult With a Car Accident Attorney
Here is how an attorney can help you with an insurance claim:
- Drafting a Demand Letter: An experienced attorney that has dealt with similar cases knows what compensation you deserve based on the facts of your case. They can help you draft a professional demand letter to maximize your chances of getting a high settlement with the insurance provider.
- Reviewing Details of the Case: Your attorney can review the details of your case to guide you to the best strategy to obtain maximum compensation and prevent you from common pitfalls when dealing with insurance companies.
- Gathering Evidence: They can help you gather all possible evidence to strengthen your case. This could include expert testimony, surveillance footage, witness statements, and more.
- Expediting the Process: Insurance claims can take a while to settle because you could be dealing with injuries that prevent you from focusing on your claim. Your personal injury lawyer can handle all the necessary paperwork and negotiations with the insurance company to ensure there is no delay in the settlement.
- Preparing for Trial: Sometimes, negotiations with the insurance adjuster are unsuccessful. Your attorney can help you take the case to court to get your full and fair compensation for your damages.
Only Agree to the Settlement When You Have Finalized the Decision
You should only agree to the settlement offer after consulting with your attorney, as any agreement on the settlement is final. You won’t be able to recover more compensation after you have agreed to the settlement. Keep in mind that even verbal agreements can be legally binding. Therefore, discussing the matter with your attorney before making a final decision on the settlement is best.