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How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company

First, you will need to gather all the documents and evidence for your case. Consider the two broad topics that will be at issue: (1) liability and (2) damages.  “Liability” is a broad term used to refer to who is at fault for the incident.  “Damages” is the broad term used to describe the way in which you were harmed. Examples of damages include: medical costs, lost wages, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, and pain. Remember, liability and damages are separate issues. Just because the adjuster “accepts liability” for the incident does not mean they will pay for all of your damages or value them in the same way as you.

Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

Next, understand what you are up against. Adjusters do not have to treat you nicely or fairly. They are trained to sense weaknesses and use those to achieve a more favorable settlement for the insurance company.  It is perfectly legal for them to pay you less than what you deserve for your injuries—in fact it is their job.

Collect all of your documents and create a “demand letter”. This letter will lay out the facts of your claim (including the relevant facts on liability and damages) and make a demand for a certain amount of money to settle the claim.  It is also wise to give a deadline but the biggest threat that you have is to hire a lawyer or file a lawsuit. Most adjusters are unlikely to take a threat to file a lawsuit seriously if you do not have an attorney. If your case is small, then you might be able to file in small claims court and handle it without a lawyer.

The adjuster will usually respond to your demand by indicating that there are problems with the case and try to show that they know more about the situation/injuries than you do. They will probably tell you that your case has little to no value – or at least much less than you demanded.

Adjuster have different styles that they have found successful, some try to be your friend and explain how they are “helping you out,” while others are more aggressive and may attack the validity of your claims. Some adjusters may claim that the offer will only be available for a limited time to try and pressure you.

Typically, the adjusters will argue about the costs of the medical treatment or whether the treatment was necessary. They may suggest that a doctor made a mistake or that time off from work was not required. Often times, the adjuster will ask for more information. This may occur multiple times.

Delay, Delay Delay

In many cases these tactics by adjusters are designed to delay the settlement. They do this for many reasons. They may try to test your resolve or see if you understand the process. They may want to evaluate you as a potential witness and thereby your risk to them at trial. They want to see if you are impatient enough to take a low offer or intimidated enough to believe the adjusters rebuttals. Mainly, they want to see how serious you are and how far you will go with the claim – including whether or not you will file a lawsuit.

It’s important not to overreact to the adjuster’s points. This can even be difficult for attorneys at times, but it’s best to politely thank the adjuster for the counteroffer and briefly explain why you disagree with his rebuttal points. Tell the adjuster that you will review the offer but that you will get back to him after you have thought it over.

Take some time to really consider the points the adjuster has made and whether or not they are supported by your evidence.  You may have to reduce your demand in order to continue the negotiating process. It is important not to “bid against yourself.” Primarily, that means do not call the adjuster to make a counter demand until you receive a firm offer from him. The adjusters will intentionally avoid your calls and delay getting back to you in order to try and frustrate you into bidding against yourself.

The negotiations will continue with offers and counteroffers and a continual discussion of each of your beliefs concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the claim. This goes until you either reach a figure that you can both live with or you reach an impasse where neither of you are willing to move anymore.

In order to know when you will reach your point, think ahead about a “drop dead” or bottom-line figure. This is the lowest value you will take to resolve the claim. This is not an amount you should ever tell the adjuster. If you cannot get this amount, then you have to be prepared to file a lawsuit. This may mean retaining an attorney or filing yourself in small claims court.  Although you can file a case “pro se” (without a lawyer) in higher courts, that is typically not advised because the rules of evidence and procedure are adhered to strictly in those courts.

Get Help Negotiating with the Insurance Companies Today

If you were injured in an accident, you may need an experienced personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group have negotiated with all of the major insurance companies and has experience handling many different types of cases. Call 303-800-1501 today to receive a free consultation.



 

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