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Dealing with prolonged negotiations with an insurance company after an accident seems overwhelming and burdensome. However, when you have only one chance to obtain compensation for your injuries, you should not rush negotiations just to get it over with. If you are unable to devote as much time as you would like, you may wish to consider hiring an experienced lawyer to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf.
If you or your loved one is negotiating an injury claim with an insurance company and need assistance, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
HOW DO I NEGOTIATE NEW MEXICO INJURY CLAIMS?
Here are some tips on how to negotiate an injury claim with an insurance company.
Determine a Satisfactory Settlement Amount
Before you even begin to speak to an insurance claims adjuster, you need to know the amount of money you are seeking. After all, if you do not know the amount of money you need, how can you know whether an adjuster’s offer is a good deal or a bad deal. That being said, you should also be flexible about the amount of money you are seeking. An insurance claims adjuster may accurately point out weaknesses in your claim. In such cases, you may have to downward adjust the settlement amount you had in mind. On the other hand, if the adjuster starts at an offer that is near the amount you had in mind, you may wish to raise the settlement amount you had in mind since your claim may be stronger than you may have thought.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
Do Not Accept the First Offer
Any good negotiation involves a back and forth. Simply accepting the first offer thrown your way can mean that you lost an opportunity to seek more in your settlement. Oftentimes, insurance claims adjusters will make an initial offer that is low to see if you will just accept it without any questions. Remember, insurance claims adjusters win for their company if they can make you accept a low offer. Therefore, you should immediately make a counteroffer if an offer is too low for you. If the initial offer is reasonable, however, you should still make a counteroffer that is a little higher.
Steps Involved in Negotiating an Injury Claim
1. The claimant sends a demand letter to the insurer requesting a settlement amount
2. The insurance claims adjuster responds, stating that the amount you requested is faulty due to various reasons.
3. You respond to the adjuster’s response.
4. The adjuster makes a counteroffer that may or may not be satisfactory.
5. If not satisfactory, you make a counteroffer, asking for an amount that is less but not excessively less than the amount you originally requested.
6. The adjuster increases the company’s offer.
7. You accept the offer or make another counteroffer.
8. If the insurance company refuses to give in and you refuse to concede, you may take your claim to trial.
Why You May Wish to Settle Rather than Go to Trial
There are hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims each year. If all of these claims went to trial, the courts at both the state and federal level would experience an immense backlog. Fortunately, to the courts’ relief, most cases settle. As a personal injury claimant, you may also wish to settle as well rather than take your case to trial. Ask yourself some of the questions below and see if it makes more sense for you to settle than take your case to trial.
Even if you believe that your case will end in victory if it is taken to trial, you should realize that there are many events that can take place between the accident and the trial. For instance, during the investigatory or discovery phase that takes place before the trial, you may say something that could effectively be used against you at trial, or perhaps evidence is found that places the fault primarily on you.
At the trial, there is even more uncertainty. Your key witnesses may not show up or the judge that overlooks your case may be inexperienced and allows objectionable evidence into trial. If you decide to appeal the outcome of a trial, you should realize that such a process can cost thousands of dollars.
A trial is an expensive process for all parties involved. A large amount of resources must be expended by the courts and the lawyers. For instance, a personal injury lawyer who will take a case to trial must spend countless hours analyzing evidence, reviewing documents, preparing witnesses, and other legal tasks.
Read More: Why Hiring an Attorney Will Help Your Case
Protects Your Privacy
Remember that most court cases are public. This means that most of the proceedings that go on in a personal injury case are public. If you have certain medical conditions or other personal matters that you do not want to go on the public record, you may wish to seek a settlement instead of taking your claim to trial.
Settlements can take time, but trials can take even more time. Even after filing a personal injury complaint, which is a document that begins a lawsuit, you may have to wait for months for a court date. And that court date may simply just be a hearing for some technical motion rather than one that is substantive.
What if an insurance claim adjuster gives you a low offer?
Besides making a counteroffer asking for a higher settlement amount, you should also ask the adjuster to explain himself or herself for the low offer. If they are unable to, then you should then ask for a higher amount. However, if they do provide you reasons, you must respond to those reasons logically. Do not respond with pure emotion, respond with logic and facts. Take each point the adjuster provided you for his or her justification of a low offer and offer a rebuttal.
Emphasize Your Damages
Although insurance claims adjusters are not known for giving fair settlement offers, they are nevertheless human. You can and should emphasize the emotional struggles you are going through when negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster. Of course, you should not go overboard. You should also have evidentiary support behind your emotional arguments. For instance, if you tell the adjuster about how difficult your life has been due to the medical costs of your procedure, you want to provide the adjuster with medical bills or other evidence of these difficulties.
Get Everything in Writing
Just because an insurance claims adjuster promises you something over the telephone does not mean that he or she will follow through on that promise. You will want everything in writing. If an insurance claims adjuster tells you that he or she will do something favorable for you, immediately ask the adjuster to memorialize it in writing.
OTHER TIPS FOR NEGOTIATING AN INSURANCE CLAIM
Understand that the negotiation process can take time. Do not seem impatient in front of a claims adjuster. Otherwise, the claims adjuster will notice this and be less inclined to give you a better offer. Noticing your impatience, the claims adjuster will think that you will accept a lower offer.
Therefore, do seem hasty about getting a settlement offer.
Organization is Key
Whenever you are speaking with an insurance claims adjuster, be sure to have something to write with and something to write on. You will want to record all of the important details at each meeting. If an insurance claims adjuster promised to do something for you, make sure you record the date on which it was said and when the promise is expected to be fulfilled.
Organization also means that you are archiving all of the evidence that you can use to support your claim. This means that you are collecting your paystubs, medical bills, and the like to justify your claim to the adjuster
Understand that the Insurance Claims Adjuster is Human
Though emotions should not affect our jobs on a daily basis, insurance claims adjusters, like anyone else, can let the emotions get the best of them. Therefore, if you start yelling at an adjuster or making threats, you are only hurting yourself. Be considerate even if the adjuster may make an offer that is absurdly low.
CONTACT A LAWYER FOR HELP NEGOTIATING AN INJURY CLAIM
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.