Negotiating your personal injury compensation will require a well-thought-out strategy. As a good starting point, here are six settlement tips.
The amount of the compensation should be predetermined
While putting together your demand letter for a personal injury settlement, you came up with a range of what you believe your claim is worth. Before communicating with an insurance adjuster about your demand, designate a minimum settlement figure within that range. The adjuster should not have access to this information because it is for your own use only. However, if you have your bottom line in mind before the offers and counteroffers begin to fly back and forth, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate effectively.
Never take the first job offer you get
Insurance adjusters commonly begin conversations by offering a low-ball offer. The adjuster is testing your patience and understanding of the value of your claim by employing this strategy.
First offers should be evaluated on the basis of whether or not they are a test of your knowledge or are too low to be feasible. It is acceptable to make a counteroffer that is slightly less than the sum specified in your demand letter if the offer is reasonable. This communicates to the adjuster that you are likewise reasonable and willing to compromise on your side of things. With a little more wrangling, you and your partner should be able to come to an agreement on the final settlement amount. There is no need to re-explain everything to each other during these discussions. The insured was solely responsible for the accident, so focus on that aspect when arguing your case.
Justifying a Low Offer with the Help of the Adjuster
You shouldn’t immediately lower the amount you requested in your demand letter if the adjuster offers you so little in your initial conversation that it’s obvious they’re trying to test your knowledge of the value of your claim. Instead, ask for the adjuster to explain why the offer is so low. As you speak, jot down a few notes. Then, in a succinct letter, respond to the adjuster’s points. To see if the adjuster will budge, you can drop your demand a little bit based on the weight of their reasons.
When you get a bad settlement offer, learn how to respond
Don’t overlook the importance of gaining emotional advantages in your favor.
During conversations, bring up any emotional points that support your position. It could be helpful to refer to a particularly powerful photograph that you provided to the adjuster showing a damaged car or a severe-looking injury. If a bottle of beer was found in the other driver’s vehicle, it is likely that the other driver had been drinking. Remind the adjuster if there have been similar accidents at the same location in the past. Do not be shy in describing the impact your injuries have on your child’s life. It is difficult to quantify the impact these variables have on an insurance company’s decision to pay a claim.
Take a seat and watch for an answer to come in
Limit the number of times you lower your demands before the adjuster provides you a new offer. When negotiating, it’s never a good idea to lower your demand twice without the adjuster making a better offer first.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
It’s a good idea to see a personal injury lawyer if any of the following applies to your negotiations:
- Your request for more than a few thousand dollars in damages is excessive. Unrepresented claimants are unlikely to be taken seriously by an insurance adjuster when losses are in the tens of thousands of dollars range or higher.
- The case is serious, like with a truck accident, in which case you need the help of 18 wheeler accident lawyers Alabama.
- You feel the other party tries to take advantage of you.
Make a contract in writing
You should write a letter to the adjuster once you and the adjuster have reached an agreement on a figure. It’s okay if the letter is succinct and straight to the point. Look at this example of a settlement confirmation letter to get a sense of what it might look like.