Let's Make A Deal: Negotiating A Personal Injury Settlement
You are entitled to be compensated for your injuries from an auto accident, and you should understand that the insurance company may not voluntarily provide you with a fair settlement. If the accident was not your fault, the other driver's insurance company has a duty to "make you whole". While most people expect to get their car repaired and their medical expenses taken care of, you are, in fact, entitled to far more than that. To be compensated for your pain and suffering, you may need to take additional steps. Read on for more information about how to make your demands known and how to get the compensation that you deserve.
The Demand Letter
Before taking the major step of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, let their insurance company know about your losses and allow them the opportunity to offer you a settlement. A demand letter spells out the details of the case and gives the other side a preview of what they could be facing if you do file suit. Stay factual, respectful and to-the-point and include these key components:
- A summary of the accident and why the other party is at fault.
- The effects of the accident on you, both physically and emotionally.
- A list of all medical treatments and the total cost so far.
- An estimation of the lost wages you have suffered .
- A list of evidence, such as accident reports and witnesses.
- The amount you are asking for (or "demanding"). Make the amount slightly higher to allow for negotiating.
- These negotiations are normally carried out on the phone; be prepared with your paperwork in front of you.
- Don't be surprised at the insurance company's low initial offer; they are testing your level of desperation. Just counter with a higher number and don't get rattled.
- Stay flexible and be ready to adjust your figures if necessary. For example, ask the adjuster for the reasoning behind their low offers. You may learn that there are good reasons for the low offers, such as possibility that you may share some fault with the other driver.
- Keep a bottom-line amount in mind at all times and don't be afraid to break off negotiations if you cannot come to an agreement.
- Don't be afraid to remind the adjuster of how the accident has impacted you and your family's life.
Negotiating a personal injury settlement can be tricky, and stressful and there is much on the line. Let a personal injury attorney like Greg S. Memovich take some of the burden from you and work to get you a fair and adequate compensation package.