You negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster by working alone or with your own adjuster or lawyer. You can communicate with the insurance company yourself, or you can leave this kind of task for a lawyer to perform on your behalf. Ultimately, when dealing with insurance companies, you will want to make sure that the settlement that they offer you is fair.
So, it is crucial to negotiate the terms of the agreement with your adjuster in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Being prepared for these negotiations is essential. You will want to make sure that you have documents to support your request. You may also want to discuss your settlement with a lawyer to help you fully understand your rights.
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How the Typical Settlement Negotiation May Progress
You will begin by corresponding with your insurance adjuster to show them the strength of your case. Then, the insurance adjuster may point out some weaknesses of your claim as a way to try to question your claim’s value. After a settlement offer is made, you will have the right to either accept it as is or negotiate for better terms.
There will likely be several offers and counteroffers involved throughout the negotiation process. Still, the negotiations may be complete after just a few emails or phone calls. Some cases cannot be settled through negotiations, however. If this situation arises, you may have to go to court to get the settlement that you are seeking.
Preparing for Negotiations With a Claims Adjuster
After you file a claim, it is a good idea to consider at what amount you may be comfortable settling. A lawyer will be able to help you come up with an amount or range that is fair compensation for your losses. Your base figure can help you when going through the negotiation process.
Preparing all supplemental evidentiary documents before meeting with the adjuster can be a benefit, as it will add support for the case value you estimated. You and your lawyer can work together to compile a case plan and provide proof for your claim.
Calculating Your Settlement
The amount you can ask for after suffering injuries in an accident will depend on:
- How much damage you sustained
- What type of damage was done
- The limits of the insurance policy
Whenever you sustain damage or an injury that may require legal action, it is important to retain as much documentation regarding the event as you can. Examples of this may include:
- Personal photos or video of the damage
- Repair bills
- Medical bills
- Receipts from items you needed to start fixing the damage
Your lawyer can use this information, as well as their knowledge of cases similar to yours, to determine what a good settlement may be in your case.
Gathering the Evidence You Need
As part of the preparation process, your lawyer will collect all possible forms of evidence to show how the damage occurred, who is responsible, and why you deserve the amount you are asking for.
The items mentioned previously – photos, bills, and receipts – are all valuable sources of evidence when it comes to proving your need for damages. Depending on your circumstances, other sources of evidence could include:
- Surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, or other sources of video footage
- Testimony from eyewitnesses or experts with relevant knowledge, such as accident reconstruction specialists
- Testimony from you and your friends and family about the effects of the damage and/or injuries on your life
- Your medical records
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How to Handle Claim Negotiations
If you hire a lawyer, you do not have to worry about handling negotiations with the insurance claims adjuster. In fact, you may not even have to talk to them at all – your attorney would speak to them on your behalf throughout the entire process.
As your lawyer performs the hard work of negotiating with the adjuster, you can focus on tending to your injuries and repairing the damage done to your property. Your attorney will:
- Do everything possible to protect and defend your rights
- Negotiate aggressively for the settlement you deserve
- Update you regularly about how your case is progressing
- Alert you when the insurance company offers a settlement and advise you whether to accept or reject it
- Take your case to court if a fair settlement offer is not forthcoming
- Answer any questions you have about the process
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What Not to Do to Get an Insurance Settlement
Insurance companies, even your own, may not want to pay as much as you need. They may try to reduce their payout by undervaluing your claim or, if you are filing a lawsuit against a negligent party, blaming you for your own injuries and losses.
For this reason, it is generally good practice to let your lawyer communicate with all insurance companies on your behalf. If an insurance claims adjuster tries to speak with you, you can protect yourself by:
- Not responding to their phone calls or emails right away
- Giving them your lawyer’s phone number and telling them to speak with your representative instead
- Not providing a recorded statement about the damage
- Not accepting any settlement offers without first letting your lawyer look them over
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today
If you have an insurance claim and you are not sure what your claim is really worth, you may want to reach out to a lawyer for help evaluating and estimating your losses.
If you need help negotiating a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster, contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation. We are happy to discuss your personal injury claim with you and to inform you of the options you may have when negotiating with the insurance company. We can also help you take your case to court and file a lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for your injuries and property damage.
Do not wait to reach out, as some evidence may be lost to time or forgotten in witnesses’ memories. We want to work quickly to defend your family and your rights as soon as we can. Call us today so we can get started—a member of our team is waiting to hear from you.