Trying to deal with the aftermath of a car accident is challenging. It’s especially the case if a person was injured when the accident occurred. This means it’s essential for a person to understand how to negotiate their auto accident settlement with the insurance adjuster.
While it’s best to hire an attorney for help with this, there are some tips a person can keep in mind. Knowing how to deal with the insurance company can help simplify the settlement process significantly.
- Make a claim as Soon After the Accident as Possible
After a car accident, the accident victim needs to contact the insurance company immediately. Car crash cases are complex, and it’s easy to forget more and more details as time passes.
It’s a good idea to contact the insurance company the same day or the day after the accident and share all the details of what happened, injuries, and property damage. This can help ensure as many details as possible are remembered.
- Maintain Accurate Records About the Accident
It’s essential to maintain a file of records related to the car accident. It’s also a good idea to organize these records based on the date to make information easy to find if needed.
The file should include the accident report filled out by the police, information from doctors’ bills, charges for car repairs, and anything else that relates to the accident. Having these documents on hand when negotiating a settlement is essential.
- Determine a Fair Settlement
Before sending a demand letter to the insurance company, it’s important to figure out what the claim is worth. When trying to calculate this figure, there are several things to consider.
Factor in the cost of medical care and related expenses, and any income that was lost because of the injuries caused by the accident. A person also needs to figure in if they are permanently disabled or if they will require long-term care, along with the pain and suffering of the situation.
Trying to determine a fair settlement amount is challenging. Therefore, it is such a good idea to seek the help of an attorney.
- Send a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
Once an accident victim has determined what they believe their claim is worth, it’s time to send a demand letter to the insurance company. Describe the accident, all injuries, medical treatment received, and ongoing health problems related to the accident.
Outline all the losses in the letter, too. Tell the insurance company what type of compensation is expected because of the accident.
Usually, the insurance company will respond with a lower offer, which is why it’s a good idea to ask for 25 to 100 percent more than what is acceptable. Remember, documentation is needed to back up all the claims that are made.
Sealing the Deal
It’s never a good idea to take the first offer. Negotiate with the insurance company until an acceptable amount is provided. If the insurance company is being difficult, it’s a good idea to get an attorney involved in the negotiation process.
Once the two parties have agreed, it’s a good idea to get everything in writing. This will help ensure there is no confusion when it is time for the insurance company to pay the settlement that was agreed on by the involved parties.