Insurance companies will often pressure you to settle quickly. don’t settle right away. it is never in your best interest to settle quickly. insurance providers will try to settle quickly with you in an attempt to keep your costs low and profits high.
A qualified car accident attorney is your best defense and first-line tool when negotiating with insurance companies. Without someone on your side to guide you through the process, insurers are likely to try to take advantage of your limited experience. We strongly suggest that you speak with a car accident attorney if you believe your insurance company is not offering fair compensation. Most car accident attorneys, like us, offer free car accident case reviews.
When you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, the days afterward can be difficult. if someone was seriously injured, the complications can be infinitely more serious. It is imperative that you understand the basics of how to negotiate your car accident settlement with the insurance company.
A car accident settlement will take into account all of your injuries, the pain and suffering you endured, and other losses, such as damage to your car and unearned wages. car accident settlements combine all of these points and more, creating a complicated situation.
Many insurance providers specifically make the settlement process a daunting challenge. it is possible to reach a fair agreement while preparing your argument yourself, but it is infinitely more difficult. this is where a motivated and experienced car accident attorney can make a difference.
important to remember!
If you have received a settlement offer from an insurance company, we recommend that you do not accept the initial offer. Talking to an experienced car accident and personal injury attorney is in your best interest. An attorney has the experience and training to determine if you are getting a fair deal. always consult legal counsel when speaking with insurance companies. If you are currently experiencing a similar situation, contact the experienced car accident and personal injury attorneys at Sutliff & dark beer. our team of legal experts is prepared to provide you with the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. we ask nothing up front and offer free consultations to review your case. we do not charge fees unless you win. To speak with one of our experts, contact us today at 713-987-7111.
The following tips will put you on the right path to negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company after a car accident.
1. start a claim as soon as possible after a car accident
After a car accident, your first step should be to contact your insurance company right away. It is important to open a claim as soon as possible after a car accident. Accurately communicating all the details about your accident is the number one priority when speaking with your insurance provider. Remember, the earlier you communicate, the more accurate your recollection of the accident will be.
If you can’t file a claim right away with your insurance provider, try writing everything down. it is essential that you write down everything you remember about the accident.
For more information on when to contact your insurance company after a car accident and what to say, read our guide to contacting your insurance company after a car accident.
2. keep accurate records about the accident
Along with step one, you should keep a record file about your car accident organized chronologically. This file should include a police report of the accident, if one exists, records of medical visits, bills for car repairs, photographs of claimed damages, and anything else relevant to your accident.
It is also strongly recommended that you keep physical and digital records of all of the above. You’ll rely on these documents often during negotiations, and having them readily available can help speed up the settlement process.
3. calculate a fair deal
Before you send a demand letter to your insurance company, you need to determine how much you think your claim is worth. When arriving at a figure, you must take into account all of the following:
- the cost of your medical care and related expenses,
- the amount of income you lost as a result of your injuries if you were unable to work,
- if you have a permanent disability or will need long-term medical care,
- any pain and suffering you endured after the accident, and
- the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and any other property damaged in the accident.
Based on this information, decide on a minimum settlement figure you will accept. If you can’t determine a fair insurance settlement, a top board-certified car accident attorney can help.
4. send a detailed demand letter to the insurance company
Once you figure out what you think your claim is worth, send a demand letter to the insurance company. Describe the car accident, your injuries, the medical treatment you received, any ongoing health problems you have, the severity of your vehicle damage, and any other losses you incurred as a result of the car accident. then tell the insurance company how much money it demands as a result of the circumstances. Since the insurance company will likely respond with an offer for less than the amount you requested in the demand letter, you should ask for 25 to 100 percent more than you would be willing to pay.
This is where having an experienced legal expert on your side can help during this critical step. A professionally experienced personal injury attorney can help you draft a proper application and advise you going forward. Finding a legal expert or attorney with specific car accident experience can be extremely beneficial during this process.
It is important to remember that you must have evidence and documentation to support everything in your demand letter. lack of proof may prevent you from getting the offer you deserve.
5. don’t accept the first offer
There is one thing you need to understand: the insurance company representative’s priority is to maximize profits and therefore they will try to pay you as little as possible for your claim.
When the insurance adjuster makes an initial offer, it will almost certainly be too low. An unreasonably low first offer could be a tactic by the insurance company to see if you know how much your claim is really worth. this is when having an experienced car accident attorney or legal expert can come in handy.
An experienced personal injury attorney can sit down with you to review the offer and help you understand your next step. chances are the offer is low as mentioned above. an attorney can communicate on your behalf, helping you negotiate a better settlement. it also sends a message to the insurance provider that you are taking this situation seriously.
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After receiving and reviewing the initial offer with your legal counsel, ask the insurance adjuster to justify their low offer and give you specific reasons why your claim is so low. Respond to each point he or she makes in a response letter by explaining why you cannot accept the offer. do not propose a lower figure, wait to see if the insurance company increases its offer.
If the first offer is reasonable but still too low, you may want to respond with a slightly lower amount than you requested in your demand letter. If you make a reasonable counter offer, the insurance company will be more willing to compromise.
6. emphasize the points in your favor
Before this happens, you will need to formulate an appropriate communication strategy with your legal expert. Your argument will need to be weighed against the truth, so having evidence to support your points can be key if the insurance provider decides to be tough.
When communicating with the insurance company, emphasize the strongest points in your favor. don’t waste time going over indisputable facts; focus on what is most important to you. If you sustained an injury that will require lifelong medical care, discuss how this will affect your quality of life and your finances over time. If you missed a significant amount of work, please reiterate the total amount of wages you lost and how the lost job affected your family. Make it clear to the insurance company that you should be fairly compensated for your injuries and other losses.
7. have everything in writing
You or your accident attorney should take detailed notes on all of your conversations with the insurance company. require that all settlement offers be submitted in writing. If something is discussed over the phone or in person, make sure you and your legal advisor receive a copy of the transcript. If a transcript isn’t available, it’s okay to ask that everything discussed during a meeting be brought up again in an email.
If you reach an agreement, make sure it is memorialized in a dated written contract that is signed by all parties to the agreement.
8. know when to hire a lawyer
If you are unable to reach a fair settlement after negotiating with an insurance company, you may need to hire a car accident attorney. An experienced accident attorney can help you assess your situation and determine if a personal injury lawsuit is necessary.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Car Accident Insurance Claim
sultiff& stout are experienced car accident attorneys representing injured clients who have been involved in car, motorcycle, and truck accidents in and around houston. For a free and confidential consultation about your case, contact us at (713) 987-7111.
frequently asked questions about negotiating a car accident settlement
why should I settle my claim? Shouldn’t I file a personal injury lawsuit?
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court because it is faster, less expensive and less risky. Trials are stressful and the jury can take months to reach a verdict. After reviewing your case and the settlement offers, your attorney will tell you whether you should accept the offer or take the case to court.
how does the insurance decide to offer a settlement?
Claims adjusters will divide damages into two categories: physical damages, such as medical bills and property damage, and emotional damages, such as pain and suffering. The first offer may be a percentage of what they believe to be the final value. insurers do this to pay as little as possible.
can I decline a settlement offer?
yes. however, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney before choosing to do this. Having competent legal counsel to support and guide you through the negotiation process is invaluable.
how is my lawyer paid?
Most personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency basis. if their claim is successful, they will take a percentage of the final settlement. the fee varies depending on the type of case and the attorney. if they do not win your case, you may not have to pay for their services. regardless, you will have to pay court filing fees, witness testimony fees, and other additional court fees and charges.