If you’re involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, it’s natural that you would want to gain compensation for the damages. The next step is negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster to determine what figure you will actually settle for.
This can be a hugely stressful endeavor, particularly as insurance adjusters want to ensure that they’re not losing copious amounts of money.
So how exactly do you negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster? In this article, we give you all of the hints and tips you need to know when it comes to negotiating the settlement.
Some of the tips in the article may come across as obvious but with accidents comes a lot of distress and sometimes common sense instantly flies out of the window. People naturally don’t want to be a nuisance and want to cause as little fuss as possible.
However, even the simplest actions will ensure that you get a settlement that you deserve and is owed by the insurance company.
Bear in mind that although adjusters are negotiating with you, they want to ensure that they are keeping the offers as low as they can. That is why we have condensed the process for you in a way that will make sure you get the best outcome possible.
What You are Negotiating a Settlement For
The first thing you need to do is consider what it is you are seeking a settlement for. Is it for physical or emotional distress or even both?
If you are negotiating physical damage, it is a lot easier to pull your case together as you will have proof of the distress in the form of photographs or medical notes.
However, it is a lot harder to determine what qualifies emotional distress and especially when it comes to quantifying that to calculate a suitable settlement amount.
This isn’t to dissuade you from seeking settlement from emotional distress as there is more understanding nowadays when it comes to mental health affliction but try to gather as much evidence as you can from doctors or witness testimonies that you can collect in your case.
When determining how much you wish to receive in the settlement, always consider how much has physically been spent in financial bills such as any medical bills, car or home damage and then think about the emotional side. How much would suffice so it covers how much you have had to spend plus the cost of mental health?
Of course, it’s not advisable to ask for an insane amount of money. This will only encourage the adjuster to offer an extremely low amount. If you don’t take it seriously then neither will they.
Hiring an Attorney
The next step to bear in mind is to hire an attorney. This means that you’re covering the initial basics as everything said during the negotiation will have a legal backup should anything go wrong.
Your attorney can also provide advice as to what sum would be realistic and satisfying. You can also entrust your attorney with all the evidence for them to look over and together compile your case.
As mentioned above, it is so important to keep note of any medical bills, other financial burdens such as car damage, witness testimonies, etc.
By doing this, you are helping to build a bigger picture of the accident through your evidence which will be enhanced by your first hand account. This will make it harder for the insurance adjuster to contest when negotiating the settlement.
Do Not Accept the First Offer
One piece of advice that is often given is not to accept the first offer.
Adjusters will always have room for negotiation even if the first offer seems tempting. The key is to get them to explain how they came up with that number specifically. What is their justification? Have they considered both the physical and mental damages? Does the cost reflect this?
The chances are the first offer will be substantially lower than the amount they can offer you so don’t be fooled into thinking that the offer will be generous. Having an attorney with you will also help you to stay calm and collected when going through the negotiation.
A lot of people feel pressured by insurance adjusters to accept the first offer because of fears that the offer will be lowered but by having a professional give you sound advice, you should be able to up the initial offer to something that will satisfy both parties.
Receive Confirmation in Writing
It goes without saying that just as you collect as much material evidence as you can to justify your side of the offer to the adjuster, ensure that you receive the confirmation of the settlement in writing signed by your attorney and the adjuster. This way, there is no way that there can be any confusion further down the line when it comes to receiving your settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to pay for example, you will have the concrete proof in writing that you did agree on a sum and they would be liable to further damages. This way, you are ensuring your own peace of mind.
As stated earlier in this article, it’s easy to feel the pressure from an insurance adjuster but remember, this is what they’re trained to do. They can come across as intimidating and use tactics to make you feel like you should accept the first offer but with the proper support and professionals on your side, it is possible to have a reasonable discussion with them to ensure that you are getting justice for the damages.
There are plenty of stories from people who have accepted the first offer or had the insurance company refusing to pay because of the tactics that adjusters employ but it needn’t happen to you.
Simply follow the above steps and you will get an amount that justifies the physical and emotional distress.
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