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Oftentimes, personal injury claimants give up and settle for less when negotiating with an insurance company. There are, of course, many reasons for this. While insurance companies have the time and luxury to stall on personal injury claims, most personal injury claimants have to move on with their lives. They do not have time to argue with an insurance company agent for weeks or even months to get a fair settlement.
If you or your loved one is or will be negotiating a personal injury settlement with Amica Mutual Insurance and need assistance, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
What an Insurance Company Will Generally Compensate
If you are negotiating a claim with Amica Mutual Insurance, it may be in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer. Once a person is found at fault for an accident, the liable insurance company may pay the injured person for the following types of damages:
- Lost income
- Permanent physical disability or disfigurement
- Loss or damage of property
- Pain and suffering
How TO Obtain a Fair Settlement from an Insurance Company
Though you should not expect an insurance company to capitulate to your demands, you should not lose hope of obtaining a reasonably fair settlement from an insurance company. However, it is not always a walk in the park. Diligent preparation is key. Below are some tips that we recommend that you follow so you can maximize the settlement you may receive from an insurance company.
Write Down Everything About the Accident
As soon as you are able, write down everything you can about the accident. Human memory is fallible. Because getting an insurance claim resolved can take weeks to months, you are not likely going to remember everything. That is why you want some method to record everything about the accident.
Make sure you write everything about the accident in great detail. This means that you mention the time, date, weather, people involved, conversations, and other important details of the accident. Not only should you write down the details of the accident itself, but also the effect the accident has had on your life. If, for instance, you are suffering from pain post-accident, be sure to write about the intensity and frequency of the pain.
Write a Convincing Demand Letter
Because the demand letter is often where you ask for the amount you are seeking, you want to treat it extremely seriously. Depending on the demand letter, your settlement can be quick and favorable or slow and unfavorable. An experienced attorney may represent you in drafting a demand letter on your behalf. Consider the following questions before you even touch the keyboard:
- What were your injuries?
- Was the other person in the accident the reason why you sustained those injuries?
- What kind of medical treatment did you receive and how much did it cost?
- Did you lose income because of the accident?
- If so, how much did you lose?
- What other damages did you suffer?
- How much do you think you will need in cash amount to compensate you for all your losses?
A strong demand letter will point out the reasons why the other party is at fault for the accident. You will want to first start out by describing the accident in detail. In clear language, explain the location of the accident and what happened immediately before and after the accident. Also, explain how the accident occurred. If you have any evidence, you should note that you have evidence. For instance, perhaps there were witnesses to the accident. If so, write the names of those witnesses in your letter.
Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you believe you may have been partly at fault for the accident, do not admit fault when communicating with the insurance company. If you do so, you are essentially making it easier for the insurance company to argue that you do not deserve the amount of money you seek. Remember, it is the insurance company to argue why you do not deserve a certain settlement. Therefore, you should always deny any responsibility for the accident.
Injuries and Treatment
Though it may be personal, your injuries and medical treatment are something you should share with an insurance claims adjuster because the costs of medical treatment often make the bulk of the compensation received in a settlement. Describe your pain and all of the negative impacts your injury has had on your daily life. If you received an injury that may lead to life-long pain or disfigurement, be sure to emphasize that.
There is a caveat, however. Do not exaggerate your injuries. Insurance claims agents at Amica are experienced professionals. They can tell when a claimant is falsifying his or her injuries immediately. Also, if you know the medical terminology, you may consider being precise when describing your injuries.
Describe Your Losses
Do not forget to list all of the losses you experienced due to the injury in your demand letter. List out the doctors whom you saw, hospitals you visited, and the amount you spent at each. You should also write down the amount of time you were off of work due to the accident and the lost income due to the time off. The losses do not have to be merely tangible, monetary losses. You can include the embarrassment you have due to an injury or unusual discomforts as well in your demand letter.
Attach Supporting Evidence
Along with the letter, attach documents such as your pay stubs and medical bills to provide evidence to the insurance company that you indeed suffered losses.
Responding to a Low Offer from an Insurance Company
First, do not let your emotions get the best of you. Yelling at an insurance claims agent or writing a nasty letter will get you nowhere. Rather, you should consider writing a response full of facts–backed by evidence–why the offer given to you by the insurance company is unreasonably low.
Below is an example of such a response:
Dear Mr. Insurance Claims Agent,
In our telephone conversation today, you relayed Amica Insurance Company’s offer to settle my claim for $1,000. Unfortunately, I believe that this offer is unreasonable for the following reasons.
First, I was not at fault for the accident whatsoever. Though you explained to me that because I was the rear car that I had the primary duty to avoid hitting the car in front of me, you neglect to mention that the front car was stopping erratically and weaving in and out of lanes. Just for your information, I do have footage from my dash camera. Furthermore, the police report indicates that the driver of the front car had been under the influence at the time of the accident.
Second, you explained in our phone call that the $1,000 was justified because I only suffered minor bruises. However, according to my doctor, I also suffered internal organ damage, which requires multiple surgeries in the near future. My doctor did make a report if you wish to see the exact details.
Because of the foregoing, I believe that I am entitled to the original claim of $15,000. However, I may be willing to accept an offer that may be slightly lower than that.
Please provide me with a response within two weeks after you receive this letter.
Thank you for your time.
Should I Negotiate a Personal Injury Settlement Without a Lawyer?
You may be able to negotiate a claim with Amica Insurance on your own, such as if the accident was not severe and you suffered only minor injuries. However, this is not always advisable, especially if you are relatively inexperienced in the claim filing process. If your injuries or property damage were severe, it is likely in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer during the negotiation .
What is a “Reservation of Rights” Letter?
Sometimes, an insurance company will send you what is called a “reservation of rights” letter. All that this letter means is that the insurance company is investigating your claim and that it may choose not to pay you if it finds out that the accident is not covered under its policy. An insurance company files this during the process of settlement because it does not want to be liable to you just because it started the settlement process with you but later finds out that the accident is not covered under its policy.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
The experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you negotiate your claim with Amica Insurance. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.