How to Negotiate an Injury Insurance Settlement
One of the most important steps in the process of obtaining financial compensation for your injuries and losses during a civil suit is negotiating an insurance settlement. The settlement is the agreement you come to with an insurance company regarding how much money it will give you for the damages you have from an accident. Negotiating a fair settlement is critical as a claimant if you wish to pay your bills and recover with peace of mind.
What Are Common Tactics an Insurance Company Might Use?
During settlement negotiations, it is important to protect your rights as a client with at least a basic understanding of how insurance companies work. Insurance claims adjusters, those assigned to resolve your case, want you to accept the lowest settlement possible. They want to profit their insurance companies by convincing you to accept a lowball offer. A claims adjuster could use many tactics to achieve this goal.
- Unnecessarily delaying your claim
- Drawing out the investigation
- Requesting too much information
- Asking for access to your full medical records
- Offering you less than your case is worth
- Saying an offer is final
- Citing authorization limits on how much he or she can offer
- Delaying a valid insurance claim
Protect your claim when speaking to an adjuster by never admitting fault. Do not agree to give a recorded statement to the insurance provider. Do not accept the first or even the second settlement offered unless you have spoken to an attorney. If you suspect insurance bad faith – an insurance company illegally handling your claim dishonestly or unfairly – talk to an attorney about an additional lawsuit against the insurer.
How Do I Counteroffer an Insurance Settlement?
Be careful during your communications with an insurance company. Once you say yes to a settlement offer, you may not be able to change your mind or renegotiate. Take your time in answering a settlement offer. Take the proposed amount to a personal injury lawyer you can trust for an honest evaluation. A lawyer can let you know if the amount is fair or if it falls short of what your injuries require. From there, your lawyer can help you write and submit a good counteroffer.
If you wish to present a counteroffer to a proposed insurance settlement, do so in writing. Write a letter or email to the insurance claims adjuster in charge of your case. Communicating with the insurer in writing helps you document your correspondence. Explain in your counteroffer letter why the amount suggested is not acceptable. Support your argument with documentation such as medical bills, pay stubs and repair estimates – especially if they have updated since you first filed your claim. Include an amount you believe is fair and reasonable for your damages. Do not counter a settlement offer with too high of an amount or the insurance company might not take your negotiations seriously.
What Happens to Your Claim If You Don’t Accept a Settlement?
No law in Massachusetts obligates you to accept an insurance settlement. If you are not happy with the amount an insurance company is offering, continue to reject the settlement until you are. You have the right to wait until you finish healing to accept a settlement, as well, to help ensure a fair amount is recovered for the full extent of your damages.
Instead of settling for a lowball amount, use a Boston accident lawyer to go up against the defendant during a civil trial. A civil trial could end in a positive verdict that awards you more than the insurance provider was offering. A positive result and compensatory award are not guarantees during a trial, however. If you lose at trial, you may not obtain any compensation for your damages.
Consult with an attorney to find out if your case has the necessary elements of a civil trial. A lawyer can give you a straightforward review of your chances of success during a court case. A lawyer could also take over settlement negotiations and counteroffers on your behalf.