Negotiation is an art that will get you the very best deals in any situation. A personal injury claim is one such situation. Those who learn to master the art early will have no problems negotiating a settlement with an insurance company when the time comes.
If you were recently involved in a personal injury accident, you may want to turn to the trusted advocacy of an attorney. This is the surest way to boost your chances of getting the maximum settlement for your personal injuries.
With their expertise and experience, your attorney can ensure that the big guns representing your insurance company do not railroad you into forfeiting the compensation you are entitled to.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a rundown of the steps involved in negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster.
The Settlement Process
Here are the steps involved in negotiating a settlement claim with an insurance adjuster:
File a claim
Filing a claim is the first step in the process. Your attorney will acquire the insurance information from the defendant on your behalf. Thereafter, they would contact the company and file a claim immediately.
After the filing, you’ll get a right of reservation letter. This is a hint from the company that they have begun an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. This, however, does not imply that they have accepted full responsibility for it.
Your attorney will follow up with a demand letter. In the demand letter, you’ll state the compensation you’re seeking, accompanied by evidence as to why you deserve such an amount.
You can only send a demand letter once, so you must ensure you ask for a very suitable amount that’ll cover all current and future costs of your treatment.
Next comes the response to your demand letter. It is likely to be a rejection letter stating that your initial asking amount is higher than the real value of your claim. They would make a counteroffer that was less than that amount.
Turn down the first offer
In this step, you’ll be writing another letter to the adjuster to reject their first offer. Your attorney will work with you to gather more evidence and documents detailing the intensity of your situation.
You’ll have to give out confidential information at this point. And, if your attorney advises, you’re free to come down from your initial offer.
This phase will have both parties sending letters back and forth until an agreement is reached. The adjuster raises their price, while your attorney lowers your asking amount until you can both find a middle ground somewhere.
Get the offer in writing
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to take back their words after a settlement has been reached in person. The best way to ensure they stick to the agreement is to draft a settlement document where both parties can embed their signatures.
Both the adjuster and your attorney will extensively review the agreement at first. There may be hidden clauses that give the insurer too much access to your private business. You must only sign it after your lawyer gives you the go-ahead.
Walk away if necessary
Out-of-court settlements are not always possible. You should be able to tell whether or not the negotiation process is fruitless. If you or your lawyer sense an unavoidable brick wall up ahead, the best course of action would be to pull back.
Take your chances in court with a lawsuit. With solid facts and evidence on your side, you should be able to convince the judge or jury to sign off in your favor.
Insurance adjusters do not care about you. Their primary purpose is to help their clients save as much money as possible.
Now, you must note that these negotiators have been in the game for several years. They have the best manipulation tactics, and they only have the best interests of their clients in mind.
They may try to use your financial desperation against you and lure you into accepting a low-ball offer. With an attorney by your side, you’ll avoid all their traps.