It’s an unfortunate reality that each day thousands of people are hurt in car accidents, workplace injuries and other calamities, leading them to have to deal with something far more serious than cuts and bruises.
Facing costly medical bills, expensive car or home repairs and other costs, you may find yourself in need of negotiating an insurance settlement in order to afford all the expenses you’re facing.
Should the situation arise, you’ll be forced to file a car or personal insurance claim with the proper insurance company and then sit down at the negotiating table to work out the details.
In some cases, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to guide you through the negotiating process, but that’s not always necessary.
This post will help you understand what’s involved so that you can play a more active role in negotiations, increasing the chances that you’ll receive the maximum potential payout for whatever injury or damage you’re facing.
Negotiating an Insurance Settlement
If you do decide to go at it alone, the first thing you should do is come up with a dollar amount you would accept to settle your case.
Negotiating an insurance settlement is kind of like bargaining at a garage sale – both parties will know how much debt you’ve incurred as a result of the accident (including medical bills, damage to your car or other property, etc.), but the insurance company won’t know how much you are willing to take to keep this out of court. That’s where things get complicated.
Negotiations can be as straightforward, or circuitous. Sometimes it’s a simple process of asking for a certain dollar amount, then agreeing to whatever the insurance company offers back, while other times there are long, drawn-out negotiations and arguments over who’s really responsible for the injuries and damages, what the financial extent of those injuries and damages really amounts to.
To get the settlement amount that you deserve, you’ll need to prepare for every stage of your insurance claim, and should be ready to tackle:
- Providing a full report, and responding to investigative questions
- Offering supporting documents (medical bills, mechanic bills, etc.)
- Furnishing a demand letter that requests restitution for those costs, including a specific dollar amount that you would be willing to settle for
- An explanation of how quickly you need the money (be careful with this one – if you say that you need the money immediately, the insurance company will have additional leverage over you in the negotiations process)
Your ability to handle these steps during the settlement negotiations process could make or break your case, allowing things to go smoothly and ensuring you receive the maximum payout, or harming your ability to get a settlement, and reducing the amount of money that you’ll receive.
Remember, even if you don’t end up hiring a lawyer to officially represent you during negotiations, it’s almost always worth consulting with one to make sure that you haven’t overlooked anything, and to ensure that you have a solid understanding of the legal implications of your situation.
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