Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most stressful experiences of a person’s entire life. Even when you are not seriously injured, the sound of screeching tires and vehicles colliding can rattle the strongest among us.
In the aftermath of such a situation, it can be difficult to think clearly, especially if you’ve been injured or your car was seriously damaged. But if you don’t approach the insurance company quickly, appropriately, and in a manner that protects your best interests, you are unlikely to get the full compensation to which you are entitled. In some cases, you may not receive any compensation at all.
Insurance companies are notorious for offering shamefully small settlement checks to injury victims without adequate legal representation. They will take advantage of you at your most vulnerable, knowing that you want to settle quickly, thus ending the unpleasant process and getting the funds you so desperately need.
Knowing how to negotiate with insurance adjusters after a car accident is critical to the outcome of your case. At Dennis & King, our experienced Chattanooga car accident attorneys will evaluate your case, determine fault, calculate damages, and negotiate for the maximum possible settlement available to you. Do not attempt to navigate this complex process without skilled legal counsel by your side.
What Is An Insurance Adjuster?
Insurance adjusters investigate claims on behalf of the insurer. They will interview the claimant, witnesses, police, and medical personnel and inspect damaged property. The main thing you need to remember about insurance adjusters is that they work for the insurance company, not for you. Their job is to move the process through quickly. Their managers judge their performance on their ability to keep claim payouts low.
To do this, they will ask leading questions and use the answers against you later to undermine your claim. It is not fair and designed to work against the claimant. Before engaging with an adjuster, you need to be prepared and know how to stand your ground.
The best thing you can do is hire an experienced car wreck attorney to represent you. You should always be careful talking to an insurance company after an accident. They will be using anything you say against you later. There are some key points you should remember when negotiating with a claims adjuster.
Tips For Negotiating With An Insurance Adjuster
If you’re not an experienced negotiator, it can be very daunting trying to get a settlement deal from an insurance company. However, regardless of whether you have a Chattanooga personal injury attorney to represent you, there are some basic steps you can take to get yourself to the other side with what you want.
1 – Start With A Settlement Amount in Mind
The first step in the process is to present the insurance company with a demand letter for the amount you want, along with supporting documents. The next step is to meet with an insurance adjuster, who will assess your claim and then likely return with a lower figure than what you have claimed. When you send your demand letter, you need to have a figure in mind. When you negotiate, this will be the bottom line that you won’t go below.
2 – Don’t Take the First Offer
One of the oldest tricks in negotiation is to start with an extremely low offer. The insurance adjuster you deal with is likely an experienced professional negotiator who will test your mettle with a low offer. They’ll be looking to test how well you know your claim and doing everything they can to keep the payout as low as possible. When you get their first low ball offer, reject it, and come back with a counteroffer. This should be lower than the amount in your demand letter but higher than their offer.
3 – Make Sure You Tell Them About The Emotional Damage
If you suffer any emotional damage resulting from the accident, it will most likely affect your earning ability. Settlements take emotional trauma into account across most areas, and you deserve to be compensated for all of your injuries, physical and mental. Any fair agreement will need to recognize all your suffering to get the treatment you need. An insurance adjuster will have to include this.
4 – Get The Final Settlement In Writing
Once you have reached an acceptable settlement, it is essential that you get it in writing. A Chattanooga motor vehicle accident attorney can confirm the agreement for you by drafting a letter to the insurance adjuster. The letter should include the settlement amount, the injuries and damages it covers, and the date you will receive the documents.
Should I Settle Or Sue?
Generally speaking, it is quicker and less stressful to settle, and a good attorney will strive for an out-of-court settlement rather than go to trial. However, if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer should be able and willing to fight for you in court.
Insurance companies also prefer to settle. But without legal representation, it is virtually impossible to know if the settlement you are being offered is a reasonable amount. In most cases, it is likely to be considerably less than what you would get with an experienced attorney by your side.
How to Fight An Insurance Company On a Totaled Car And Get What You Deserve?
It may be tempting to represent yourself in a car accident case, in an effort to save money. But in reality, doing so will likely cost you dearly in the end. The ability to negotiate effectively is critical to settling early and for the maximum amount.
Adjusters rely on people not knowing enough about the claims process to protect their rights. They will use this to their advantage to create a situation such as insurance not paying enough for a totaled car.
By working with an experienced car injury attorney, you can ensure that the insurance company doesn’t prey on your vulnerability. At Dennis and King, our skilled Chattanooga car wreck lawyers understand the tactics insurance companies use to pay as little as possible to crash injury victims.
Contact Dennis and King Today
If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, the skilled motor vehicle accident team at Dennis and King can help. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and emotional pain and suffering. We will review your case to calculate damages, and negotiate for the full compensation. Don’t go through this stressful process without skilled legal counsel by your side. Contact Dennis and King today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.