The last thing that you want to do after a Pennsylvania car accident is think about negotiating with an auto insurance claims adjuster. Many people are intimidated and overwhelmed by the process, and it helps to have a personal injury attorney who is familiar with Pennsylvania’s car accident laws on your side. In some small cases, you may not really need an attorney and you might prefer to do it on your own. If you are going to negotiate with an insurance adjuster, you’ll want to read on.
The Job of the Insurance Adjuster
Car insurance companies hire insurance adjusters to determine your car accident claim’s value. They do this by calculating various factors, like the damage done to the vehicle, the value of the vehicle, and the resulting physical injuries and repair expenses. The goal of the adjuster is to reach an acceptable figure and close your case as soon as possible.
However, it is also the goal of the insurance adjuster to save the insurance company money, so he or she is going to hope that you will settle quick and settle for the lowest amount possible. If you remain aware of this, you can ensure that the insurance adjuster does not achieve this goal by being knowledgeable during the negotiation process. Remember that the insurance adjuster does not really care about your injuries and damages. He or she has an objective to settle the case and save the company money in that settlement.
How You Can Be Prepared
The insurance adjuster will collect evidence and information that will indicate that your claim should be worth a lesser amount than it actually is. You will want to be prepared with just as much information and evidence, if not more, that clearly shows your damages and expenses. You should never meet a claims adjuster without your evidence in front of you. This should include the following:
- Medical Records
- Medical Bills
- Damage Estimates
- Repair Bills
- Lost Wage Records
- Accident Report
Add up the totals of these damages so that you have a figure in mind before you talk to the adjuster.
If you are prepared, then you will not be overwhelmed by an assortment of confusing facts and figures
that the insurance adjuster will present to refute your claim. You won’t be successful if you just ask for a higher settlement. You’ve got to prove that you deserve compensation in the amount you ask for.
Starting Negotiations High
Negotiation involves two sides trying to meet somewhere in between each of their demands. This means that you can expect to receive a settlement amount that is lower than what you originally ask for. Thus, you should originally ask for an amount that is higher than what you really need. The other side is going to try to negotiate that number lower than you want to agree to, and you will want enough room to go back and forth a few times without settling for less than you deserve.
Taking Your Time
The claims adjuster has a lot of cases and wants to settle them all quickly. By settling quickly, he or she is able to quickly move onto the next case and settle for a lesser amount because you haven’t had time to think or negotiate. They may pressure you to settle more quickly, but you should never think that you have to rush through this. You need to do the opposite. Before you try to negotiate, you want your medical bills to be in, to have an accurate assessment of what future medical expenses will be. You also need to know exactly what your repair costs will be for the vehicle, how much time you’re going to be out of work, and what the long term implications of your injury are.
Take your time and never settle before you’re ready. You can’t go back to open you claim again once you reach a settlement agreement. You do have to watch the statute of limitations and give yourself enough time to negotiate and go to trial if necessary. If you think you could benefit from legal advice, contact a Pennsylvania car accident attorney.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you simply can’t reach a settlement amount that both parties can agree to, then you may have to take your case to court. At this stage, you will definitely want an attorney. In many cases, simply hiring an attorney lets the insurance company know that you are serious and inspires them to make a more reasonable offer. However, you want to work with an attorney who is not afraid to take the case to court if the insurance company does not meet your settlement demands.