Negotiating with the Insurance Company
After a car accident, slip and fall injury, flooded house or another type of damage, you will probably deal with an insurance company. Not many people enjoy negotiating with the insurance company, it’s not a fun process. However, it is necessary to receive compensation for the damages you suffered.
Negotiating on a settlement offer can be a nerve-wracking process. You don’t know what the insurance adjuster will ask you. They may offer you much lower than your asking amount or even reject your offer altogether.
Once you send the insurance company a demand, they will respond with a reservation of rights letter. This means that the company is investigating your claim, but reserves the right to not pay you until they can determine that the policy covers your injuries.
After you receive this letter, the phone calls will begin. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster will not offer you the amount you’re seeking. They will start at a much lower offer in order to pay as little as possible. They employ skilled negotiators and you will need to stand your ground if you want to receive the amount you deserve. Are you prepared to negotiate? Here are some tips that can help.
1. Have a Settlement Amount in Mind
You should have spent some time calculating the values of the damages you have suffered and determining an amount you believe you should receive. This amount should be in the demand letter. However, the chances are slim to none that you will receive what you’re actually asking for.
That’s why you need to have another number in mind: the minimum amount you’re willing to accept. You need to figure out how much you have suffered in losses and go from there. You’ll want to make sure your compensatory damages are at least paid for. Take some time figuring out what you’ll accept, but don’t reveal this number to the insurance adjuster.
2. Avoid Jumping at the First Offer
Insurance adjusters are under the impression that you’ll want to settle quickly and get the negotiations over with. They’ll offer you a low amount at first, but don’t give in to the temptation. If you feel the offer is too low, don’t feel obligated to accept it. You will be able to negotiate a higher offer, regardless of what the insurance adjuster will tell you. Stay strong and say no. Come up with a counteroffer and keep the negotiations going until you both can reach a fair agreement.
3. Make the Adjuster Justify the Offer
If the adjuster starts off with a ridiculously low settlement offer, ask them to justify it. Take notes of each of the reasons and then respond in writing. Provide reasoning as to why the adjuster is incorrect and send off the letter. When you speak to the adjuster again, ask for their responses. If the responses are valid, you may be able to lower your demand but try to keep your value high.
4. Provide Additional Documentation
If the insurance adjuster is still having trouble seeing your point of view, try to provide new documentation or go over the main points. Don’t try to go over every single fact of the case all over again. Instead, show more evidence as to why you deserve the amount of money you are demanding. Did you recently see your doctor and find out you need surgery? Inform the adjuster of this new information.
Is the adjuster refusing to pay the full amount of your home after flood damage from a storm? Compare your situation to neighbors and show that they received settlements similar to your initial offer.
Don’t be afraid to use emotional pleas. If your injury has left you unable to care for your children or your house is in foreclosure because you cannot work and earn income to pay your mortgage, let the adjuster know. These reasons can be powerful enough to help you get the money you deserve.
5. Hire a Lawyer to Negotiate on Your Behalf
Insurance companies can be a pain to work with. They can be stubborn and will do what it takes to stand their ground. The process may frustrate you or make you anxious. You may worry because the process is taking too long and you are afraid of losing out on your legal rights. But doesn’t mean you need to give up.
If all else fails, hire a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies. They are fully aware of the tactics that insurance adjusters use and they know what to say to protect your rights. A personal injury lawyer will advocate on your behalf and help you receive a fair offer.
Many people are hesitant to hire a lawyer because they think they can’t afford one. However, most lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win. If they can help you settle your case, you’ll have to pay them a fee, typically around 33 percent of the award. This means if you receive a settlement for $100,000, you will pay your lawyer $33,000. This may seem like a lot of money, but you’ll still have $67,000. This is much better than the zero dollars you would have received by not successfully negotiating a settlement.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Negotiating with an insurance company can be a frustrating experience. You may spend a lot of time and energy trying to get the adjuster to agree to a reasonable settlement offer, but to no avail. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Remember to exercise your legal rights.
If you’re getting nowhere with the insurance company, the next step is to hire a personal injury lawyer. The team at Harris Law Firm, PLLC can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We serve clients throughout Mississippi and Arkansas. Contact Harris Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule your free case review.