Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be difficult, especially if you were injured. Victims should be fully compensated, and it’s critical you understand the basics of negotiating a fair settlement after an accident. Calling an insurance company can be overwhelming, but a skilled personal injury attorney has the experience of negotiating settlements and working with insurance carriers. Plus, they can communicate with the insurance adjuster while you focus on your recovery.
File a Claim as Soon as Possible
Immediately following a car accident, you should contact your insurance company. Besides it being the law, it’s essential to file a claim early. That way, when a claims adjuster is conducting their investigation, you can recall the accident’s details more accurately and report any damage or injuries.
Send a Detailed Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
When you send a demand letter to your insurance company, you’re telling them how much you think your claim is worth. When calculating your claim, you should include the following:
- Your complete medical treatment including diagnosis from your treating physicians;
- The cost of medical care and related expenses like physical therapy and medication;
- The amount of income you lost while being out of work;
- If you are permanently disabled or require long-term care;
- The cost to repair or replace your vehicle (if applicable); and
- Any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident.
Based on the information you calculated, you’ll be able to determine a minimum settlement figure. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are known for offering much less than what is fair. An experienced personal injury attorney can also help you understand what a reasonable range of settlement amount should be based on the facts of your case.
Never Accept the First Offer
After the claims adjuster evaluates your case, they’ll likely present you with an offer that is too low. Many companies offer meager first offers to take advantage of people who need funds fast to pay off large sums of debt. Unfortunately, those who do not hire an attorney may not know that their cases are worth considerably more.
You do have a right to ask how the adjuster reached the claim amount. Respond to the adjuster in a written letter, preferably with certified mail, why you think your claim is worth more. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to help guide you through this process.
What Not to Do When Negotiating
Now that you know what to do when negotiating a claim, there are a few things to avoid. Never be too friendly with anyone you speak to from the insurance company. They are not your friends, so it’s all right to be polite but not submissive. To obtain a fair settlement, you need a firm hand. Adjusters may also try to set a relaxed tone so that you let your guard down. If you’re too comfortable, the adjuster can get you to say or agree to things out of context. Set a business tone and keep it that way.
Do not let a claims adjuster pressure you into giving a recorded statement, especially without an attorney present. Once you record a statement, the insurance company will limit your claim to what you said. Never say you’re suffering from a medical condition without proof. If you say you have whiplash or a traumatic brain injury without the medical evidence, the insurance company will use that against you.
Contact a Skilled Auto Accident Attorney to Fight for Proper Compensation
Dealing with an insurance company is most likely the last thing you want to worry about following an auto accident. Your primary focus should be your recovery. Instead of dealing with your claim alone, reach out to Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi. He’ll fight for you to obtain the compensation needed to cover medical bills, damages, and lost wages.
Marsalisi Law has helped thousands of St. Petersburg families recover fair compensation from insurance companies. Being selected by The National Trial Lawyers as Top 40 Under 40, you can trust us to fight for you. Call (727) 800-5052 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal!