Dealing with life after an auto accident can be very difficult. There are pieces of your life that you have to work on recollecting and putting back together, so the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company giving you a bit of grief or a hard time over something that is entirely out of your control. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make things go more smoothly in your favor when trying to negotiate with an insurance company after an accident.
Get Offers In Writing
In most situations, after experiencing an accident, you will write an insurance claim demand. This is a letter that explains your situation, and the ordeal that you experienced throughout the course of the accident, as well as any lingering physical, psychological or emotional effects that have stuck around due to the impetus of the accident.
Do not let an insurance agent respond over the phone or in person, their first offer should come in writing. In fact, it should be the case that all of the insurance company's offers should come to you in writing. This is because claim offers are legally binding documents, and while an agent's word is, as well, this provides some form of evidence in the case that the insurance company changes his or her mind. If you get a great offer over-the-phone, don't get your hopes up until it is submitted to you in writing.
Make The Insurance Company Justify Smaller Offers
Ostensibly, many insurance companies are legally required to offer you the best possible offer they can. Having said this, many insurance companies will not offer you the best offer that they possibly can right off the bat. If an offer seems rather paltry in light of the accident that you have experienced, then you can legally demand that the insurance company justify that offer.
In fact, it is probably for the best if you demand that any offer that comes your way require a form of justification. If an insurance company can provide no justification for the amount that is offered to you, or if their justification seems a bit suspect, it is probably time to hire the consult of a lawyer.
Don't Accept Their First Offer
The key to receiving more money from an insurance company is to remember that you are negotiating. Their first offer will almost always, without fail, be a much lower number than the amount you actually should receive. Even if the amount seems unusually high, it is highly recommended that you hold out, and never accept the first offer that they slide your way. You should counter with a higher offer, usually much higher than you expect to receive, in order to keep the negotiation on the right track.
Consult With A Lawyer
This is perhaps the most integral step of filing for an insurance claim. Even if you believe you are receiving a good deal on behalf of the insurance company, it is essential that you run the agreed upon terms with an attorney. It is fine to file the first claim, but as soon as you receive the first offer, you should consult with a trusted attorney to hash out the legalities of the process. Remember, a lawyer is there to help you maximize your profits and make sure that the insurance company is going through all of the proper legal channels. If your insurance company refuses to settle with you, or if they continue to give you offers that are far too low, your attorney can decide if it would be worth it to sue the insurance company and take them to court to ensure you get the full amount of money due to you. The insurance company is required by law to produce a good faith effort to pay you what you are owed, and if your lawyer can demonstrate that they have not done this, you might have a good case. For more ideas click here for info on accident lawyers in the California area.
Negotiating with an insurance company after an accident can be a difficult phenomenon, but hopefully these four tips have given you some insight into the world of claims court.