Your objective in filing a claim and negotiating with an insurance company should be to get the highest settlement offer that the insurance company is willing to make without having to resort to filing a lawsuit. The claims process begins when you report your injury to the insurance company and file a claim. If you file a personal injury claim with an insurance company after an accident, you will be speaking with a claims adjustor for the purpose of negotiating a settlement. At each step of your interaction with the insurance company adjustor, you should be advocating for the highest possible settlement. The claims adjuster will tell you that they are investigating but make no mistake – the adjustor will be using their experience and the resources of the insurance company in an attempt to diminish or deny your claim. It is the adjustor’s goal to pay you as little as is possible to settle your accident claim.
Often, insurance companies will not even tell you how much insurance is available for your claim. It is essential to know whether the person who caused the accident is insured for $25,000, $50,000 or even $1 million. The adjustor and the insurance company know this information and, in order to have an effective negotiation, you must have as much information as they do.
Insurance adjustors negotiate claims every day and it is their job to pay as little to you as possible. Our clients often tell us stories about adjustors who warn claimants that if they reject the insurance company’s initial offer, they will not receive a higher settlement if they hire an attorney, and will actually receive less because they will have to pay attorney fees. This simply isn’t true. It is well known that insurance companies offer less money to people who are not represented by an attorney and that those settlements on average are very low. Our clients receive substantially higher settlements than people who are not represented. This is in part due to our experience in negotiating settlements but it is equally due to our skill and reputation in the courtroom. If you’ve been told that hiring an attorney will not assist you in obtaining a higher settlement and want additional information on why this is untrue, please call us now.
If you decide to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer, the personal injury claims process will end at that point. You will be asked to sign a release that will end any and all future rights you may have – even if your condition worsens, your medical bills rise, your ability to work is diminished etc. This is the reason that insurance adjustors are eager to reach out to you and ask you how you are. They want you to settle quickly.
If the insurance adjustor gives you a low offer (your medical bills plus a small amount for pain and suffering would be typical), you have the option of rejecting the insurance company’s offer and getting help. In this situation you might have $5,000 in medical bills and the adjustor offers you $7,000. For some this might seem reasonable. If we represented you, we would want to be sure that we knew exactly what your prognosis was before agreeing to such a low settlement offer. Are you going to have future pain? Is the ache in your back going to get worse? Are you going to need surgery or other medical treatment at some time in the future? These are important questions. Insurance Companies would prefer that you settle before the answers are known. If we represent you we would insist that you understand this is your one opportunity, to recover for your injuries – present and future – and that you resist the temptation of quick cash and high pressure tactics. Instead let us let us help you achieve the highest possible settlement using our skill, experience and a more scientific method.
Like adjustors, we negotiate accident settlements every day. If you’ve been low-balled by an insurance company or haven’t even been told how much insurance is available for your claim, you need help. Negotiation doesn’t work when there is unequal bargaining power. Please call us now and let our experience and skill even the playing field for you.