If you were recently in a vehicle accident and were injured, you might be struggling with getting your settlement from your insurance company. Unfortunately, not all companies will offer you what you deserve in the settlement. This is when you will enter negotiations. The following tips can help you get through these negotiations and improve your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Gather Evidence and Documents
Before you even start calculating the loss and damages related to your injury, you need to start putting together all the evidence you have. For medical charges, have a list of bills you have paid due to treatment for the injury, as well as any remaining bills that you can't afford to pay. This includes all deductibles, co-payments, prescription costs, doctor visits, surgeries, and physical therapy. If you needed therapy for the emotional toll it has taken on you, include that documentation as well.
Also have a folder with evidence that is organized based on the type of evidence or chronological order, whichever makes more sense to you. This should include witness testimonies, notes about the accident and injuries, and any photographs that were taken of the scene. If you have a copy of the police report that points at the other person being responsible for the accident, it can also be very helpful.
Begin Calculating Loss and Damages
When you compile a list of damages that are a direct or indirect result of the accident that led to your injuries, include not just actual loss and damage, but pain and suffering, and personal loss. For example, if you are a parent and missed your child's college graduation because you were in the hospital, that can be considered a personal loss. You might also have experienced not being able to pay your medical bills, post-traumatic stress disorder or panic attacks, or a loss of wages or employment during the recovery period. This is all important to include. An accident attorney can help you determine a good amount to request for the settlement.
Send Your Demand Letter
Before beginning negotiations with your insurance company, you need to send the demand letter. The documents you have compiled and the dollar amount you are requesting based on loss and damages will help when writing the demand letter. For the amount, pick something higher than what you think you deserve. This is a good tactic since the offer from the insurance company is almost always a lower amount. Getting help from an attorney from a firm like J D'Agostino & Associates, P.C. is highly recommended even at this stage of the process.
Give a Counteroffer
After you send your demand letter, the insurance company will send back their offer. You should never accept the offer no matter what the amount is, unless your attorney advises otherwise. Send a counteroffer that is higher than what they wanted, but lower than your original demand amount. If you're lucky, negotiations will stop here.
When trying to negotiate, remember to present evidence of the effect the accident is taking on you and don't be afraid to be as emotional as possible.