After going through a potentially traumatic car accident, the last thing anyone wants to do is negotiate with an insurance company. Unfortunately, it’s important for all parties that the paperwork is handled as soon as possible. During the ensuing back and forth, there are some important negotiation tactics to keep in mind.
First, report your car accident right away. Many insurance companies have policies requiring prompt reporting. After that, start with what is referred to as a demand letter. This letter encapsulates your desired outcomes for the insurance company including the settlement amount sought. When drafting, make sure to have both a high-end number and a minimum amount that would be acceptable in mind. Of course, do not reveal this range to the adjuster. After deciding on an appropriate settlement amount, you can start the negotiation.
During the first call with the claims adjuster, both parties will outline what they see as the strengths and weaknesses of the claim and discuss the proposed settlement amount. The adjuster is likely to offer a number lower than the client’s desires. Haggling skills are important here. Ask for justification of that number then counter with a number higher than what the adjuster offered but lower than the amount listed in the demand letter. Try to negotiate in good faith and show a willingness to compromise without going too low. It usually takes a couple of phone calls for both parties to settle on an exact figure.
Don’t be afraid to leverage any emotional points that support the claim. Sometimes those kinds of appeals can be important motivating factors in closing a case. When both parties finally reach an agreement, draft a letter to the adjuster confirming the agreed-upon amount and the specifics that led to that number. Include the injuries and damages the settlement covers and the date by which documents should be sent out for signing.
At Leav & Steinberg LLP, our team has nearly two decades of experience in dealing with insurance companies. Whether you were involved in a car accident or another personal injury accident, we will advocate on your behalf. Contact us today to request your free consultation.