Car Accidents and Personal Injury Negotiations
Car Accidents are at the least a gigantic nuisance, and at worst can change your life dramatically, giving rise to permanent injuries and health complications. Negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company– and even your own insurance company– can bring on an amazing amount of frustration and fear that you’re not going to get a fair result. A Charlotte personal injury attorney can make all the difference. In the meantime, here are some tips:
The Negotiation Process For Car Accidents
Typically, your negotiations won’t really begin until your treatment for your injuries from the car accident has completed. This allows your personal injury attorney to value your claim without the insurance adjuster responding that it’s “too soon to tell what the permanent/final injuries are.” In the meantime, HERE are some tips for gathering support for your claim, while treatment is ongoing.
Once treatment is complete, your attorney will value the claim from a number of different perspectives including lost wages, pain and suffering, outstanding medical bills, future medical expenses, etc. This is all summarized in the demand package your personal injury attorney sends to the adjuster, which will include an amount your personal injury attorney thinks the claim is worth.
Getting a response from the adjuster often takes 45-60 days. Keep in mind this is the insurance company’s first chance to review all the paperwork involved in the case, review doctors’ notes, and examine your personal injury attorney’s breakdown of the demand. Once you get a response from the insurance company, each side is essentially attempting to figure out how much movement there is between the initial demand and response, what each party is willing to settle for, and how much patience each side has to wait the other out.
Key Factors In Successful Car Accident Negotiations
FACTS: It helps to have good facts– a police report that establishes the accident was the other motorist’s fault, or damage to the rear of your vehicle (vs. being side-swiped). In negotiations arising from these car accidents, there is little chance the other side will argue their driver is not responsible.
PERSISTENCE: While patience is a key factor in not accepting too low a number, your personal injury attorney also needs to establish a sense of urgency with the adjuster. Once the adjuster has done his/her initial evaluation of the case, there is no reason for each exchange of new offers to take another 45 days.
UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY: Insurance adjusters are corporate employees who are over-worked and under-paid. Your personal injury attorney will develop a relationship with the adjuster which goes beyond trading offers back and forth. It is your personal injury attorney’s job to get the adjuster to see you as a human being with a full life, who has been sidetracked by a car accident that was not your fault.
PATIENCE, AGAIN: If the adjuster’s number and your number aren’t even close, the best advice is to wait it out. Sometimes that’s not possible, as hospital bills are piling up; however, most personal injury attorneys can get medical providers and billing agents to defer payment until the case is settled. This helps buy time to play the waiting game. The longer you wait, the quieter your side is, the less the insurance adjuster thinks they can get away with a low offer because the most important thing to you is getting the case settled.
If you have questions about negotiating a personal injury arising out of a car accident, please call 704.749.7747 to speak with me today. I’m here and answering questions is my job.