When survivors of car accidents get a settlement offer from the insurance company, they often wonder whether it is fair. It may seem low in light of the severity of the injuries and extent of medical bills. Thankfully, there is no requirement to accept the first offer and it is within your power to negotiate with the insurance company to try to get more than the amount initially offered.
Here are four suggestions for dealing with the insurance company’s adjuster:
- Review the auto insurance policy to understand the limits of that coverage.
- Add up your medical bills and lost wages, then decide the most and least you would accept as a settlement. Don’t be afraid to aim high — the adjuster will never offer more than you need.
- Expect the adjuster’s initial settlement offer to be low. Remember, it’s the adjuster’s job to pay as little on your claim as legally possible. If the offer is truly an attempt to lowball you, ask the adjuster for an explanation. When you receive one, answer each of their claims in writing with supporting evidence. This could convince the adjuster to take your claim more seriously and raise their settlement offer.
- Keep cool and be patient. Negotiations can take months after a serious motor vehicle accident, which can be stressful because you might have to temporarily cover your crash-related bills yourself. If you don’t hear anything for a few weeks, contact the insurance company for an update. Don’t take the bait if the adjuster implies that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries. This could be a negotiating tactic, not what they really believe based on the facts.
It’s up to you whether a settlement offer is acceptable, but an experienced attorney who has seen similar cases like yours may be able to offer insight about whether the offer is truly aligned with what you deserve. Consider how close the offer is to your initial demand and whether going to court would be worth it. In many cases, a trial is the only option to get fair compensation for yourself and your loved ones.