Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement: Do’s and Don’ts
One of the most important parts of the car accident claim process is negotiating with your auto insurance provider. In a no-fault state, you will be filing a claim with your insurance provider, no matter who caused the accident. Therefore, you’ll need to know how to negotiate with your insurance provider in order to get a fair settlement.
It’s extremely rare for a policyholder and their insurance provider to be on the same page right off the bat, and this is one reason why you should reach out to a car accident lawyer before you ever speak to your insurance provider, as they’ll make negotiating with your insurance provider simple and rewarding. Now, let’s get into the do’s and don’ts you should be aware of before negotiating a car accident settlement.
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Do: Understand the Extent of Your Injuries and the Damages These Could Yield
Understanding the extent of your injuries is important. If you don’t know the extent of your injuries, you won’t know how much you should be suing for. This is why most car accident victims wait until they’ve fully recovered from their injuries to settle. Similarly, you should have all relevant documents and bills ready to go before you start negotiating, as this way it’ll be easier to explain the full extent of your injuries. If you’re confident and prepared from the start, your insurance provider may be less inclined to use their bag of tricks on you.
Do: Have Clear and Realistic Expectations
You should have clear and realistic expectations before you start negotiating. If you go into negotiating without these, you may accept a lowball offer, or you may take receiving a lowball offer as a personal insult and abandon the negotiating process altogether.
And if you come in with a settlement figure that’s too high, and you don’t budge on this demand, your insurance provider won’t take you seriously. In fact, they will probably wait for things to end up in court, assuming a judge will agree with them and refuse to give you an outrageously high settlement amount. Having a car accident lawyer take care of evidence gathering and damages calculating will help you set realistic expectations.
Do: Expect a Lowball Offer
It’s almost standard operating procedure for an insurance company to offer a lowball settlement. They’ll do this in hope you accept early and save them both time and money. Some people take the lowball settlement because quick money and avoiding a long process are both appealing to them. YOU have to decide what’s best for you. Just know that if you’ve hired a lawyer already, they will probably advise you to avoid the lowball settlement so you can get much more money.
Do: Demand Higher Than You Expect to Get
In your demand letter, you should ask for a total damages figure that’s higher than the total cost of your accident-related expenses. You should do this for the purpose of negotiating. If you start higher, that means the negotiated figure in the middle will be closer to the actual settlement figure you want. Your insurance provider will operate the same way; that’s why they lowball you to start. But unlike the claimant who demands a high figure, the insurance company negotiates many lowball settlements, as many policyholders want to just take the money and run.
Do: Be Patient
Having patience is of vital importance. Your insurance provider may purposefully elongate the process in hopes that you abandon it. And if you feel like negotiations are going nowhere, you need to refrain from getting antsy and accepting something low. It may be that your case needs to go to court, where after hearing a presentation of the facts, a jury will rule in your favor. But you won’t be able to get to court if you take a lowball settlement beforehand.
Don’t: Talk About Your Claim Online
You shouldn’t discuss the details of your claim with anyone other than your lawyer, and you definitely should refrain from posting about your claim online. Posts regarding your claim can be used against you in a variety of ways.
Don’t: Don’t Record a Statement Without a Lawyer Present
You shouldn’t record a statement, as this may be used against you later on in court, especially if you’re saying things that run contrary to what you said in the recorded statement. Contradicting a recorded statement will put your credibility into question, and you’ll look bad in front of a jury if this happens. There may be times when you are required to record a statement for your insurance provider, and at these times it’s best to have a car accident lawyer with you, as they’ll coach you through what to say so you don’t unintentionally preclude yourself from receiving fair compensation.
Don’t Negotiate Without Assistance From a Skilled and Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
While it’s possible to bring a claim on your own, you should not do this, especially if you have the opportunity to hire a car accident lawyer. The insurance companies are master negotiators, and someone who lacks experience, skills, and resources is easy prey for them. A car accident lawyer can help you stay patient as you await a settlement, and they can also do in-depth evidence-gathering to present the strongest case possible.
Also, if you hire a car accident lawyer who has a reputation for playing hardball with insurance providers, it’s likely your insurance provider won’t try any funny business while negotiating. Moreover, since car accident lawyers work on what’s known as a contingency fee, you only pay your lawyer if they secure a settlement.
For so long, finding a qualified and reliable car accident lawyer was a challenging task. That’s why we set out to make the process a lot simpler. Call 1-800-HURT-511 when you need to be connected with best-in-class car accident lawyers in Ocean Parkway who’ve secured over $1 billion in damages for their clients. The lawyers we work with are multilingual and highly experienced, and they’ll fearlessly take on your insurance provider to ensure you get what you’re owed.
Call 1-800-HURT-511 now to discuss your options, as time may be running out.