By June 21, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

Negotiating your car insurance settlement after an accident

If you get into an accident and the other driver is at fault, you’ll have to make a claim with that driver’s car insurance company. After you’ve done so, and provided them with all the correct documentation to support your claim, you’re going to have to negotiate the settlement of your claim with the adjuster.

Usually, the adjuster will go first and offer you a settlement amount, and after that it’s up to you to accept that amount or ask for something a little different. Just because it’s more common this way, though, doesn’t mean that that’s how you have to do it.

You can start the proceedings off, if you have a definite idea of the settlement you deserve, by writing a demands letter with the amount you think you’re owed. Then the adjuster will come back with a counter-offer. You might like that, accept it, and things are settled. But it doesn’t always go that way.

Maybe the offer the adjuster makes is lower than you can accept. Keep in mind that adjusters are employees, and they’re given a settlement range from their higher ups that they have to stick to. Normally, the starting amount that an adjuster will give is the absolute lowest amount in that range, because the lower amount they get you to agree to, the happier their bosses are. You can negotiate with your adjuster for a bit and play tug of war, but once they reach the peak of that range, they cannot go any higher. If you reach this point in negotiations and still aren’t satisfied with the number being offered, there are some things you can do.

  • talk to a lawyer who specializes in car accidents. They can help you determine if the figure you’re asking for is a reasonable expectation that you have some standing to fight for.
  • If you don’t want to involve an attorney, you can write a letter to the insurance company documenting things that support your reasons for requesting the figure you are.
  • Speak to the adjuster’s supervisor. The adjuster won’t be able to go up any higher, but they might.
  • Ask for alternative dispute resolution (mediation or arbitration)
  • Complain to the department of insurance in your state
  • Get a lawyer to continue the negotiations on your behalf.

If even your attorney can’t get them to budge, and he believes that your case does deserve more than they’re offering you, it’s time to forget the negotiating process and file a lawsuit against the driver that got you into this mess.

Cheers,

Fashun Guadarrama.

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