Tips On How To Negotiate A Personal Injury Settlement With An Insurer
While nobody likes to think about being involved in a personal injury, they do happen. If this ever happens to you, hire a lawyer. It’s almost guaranteed that you and your personal injury lawyer in Lakewood, will be negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company. Remember that the negotiations process can be smooth and consist of only a few short meetings and phone calls before the defendant’s insurance company issues you the settlement check. However, this tends to be the case only if you and your personal injury lawyer have been prompt and organized when crafting and pursuing your personal injury claim or case.
However, what generally tends to occur is that you, your personal injury lawyer, and the insurance adjuster will meet. The three of you will discuss the merits, strengths, and weaknesses of your claim or case. The adjuster will then determine your settlement amount and give you an offer. You should refuse this offer since it will be very low and you’ll most likely be able to negotiate a higher amount. This is the amount which you want and need.
Since the insurance adjuster is generally NOT on your side, you should do the following to obtain the highest settlement amount possible:
● Determine a settlement amount in advance – you and your personal injury lawyer should have this amount in mind when negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Be sure to list this amount in your initial demand letter. You never, however, want to tell the adjuster what this amount is. He or she may insist on giving you only this amount. Remember that your initial pre-determined settlement amount must be flexible. You must adjust it either upwards or downwards, depending on the facts regarding your case or claim which the insurance adjuster presents you with.
● Know the reservation of rights letter – you may well receive this type of letter from the defendant’s insurance company. Don’t panic if you do! This letter simply states that the insurance company is (actively) investigating your claim and that it doesn’t have to (legally) pay you anything if it turns out that the policy doesn’t cover your personal injury. The letter can be considered to be a legal disclaimer. It prevents you from suing the insurer on the grounds that you can do so simply because you entered into negotiations with it.
Never accept the first offer: Your personal injury lawyer will tell you to never accept the first offer. This is because it will be unreasonably low. Once you accept your offer, you generally have closed the case. You can, however, present the insurance adjuster with a slightly lower counter offer. This action will show him or her that you are being reasonable and not greedy. You will be more likely to get the settlement you really want.
Make sure the settlement is in writing: Make sure that you document the terms of the settlement in a written letter and send this to the adjuster. This will serve as physical evidence of the negotiations. It will also become part of your records. The letter should be dated, include the settlement amount, and the injuries you suffered.
Dealing with an insurer can be difficult: Dealing with an insurer can be hard, but you can make this process much easier and get the settlement you want and need. You just need to follow the information discussed in this article and hire a good lawyer.