Strategies You Can Use to Get Full and Fair Compensation
In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, one of your first steps toward recovering for your losses will be to report the accident to your insurance provider, so that you can get the benefits to which you are entitled under your policy. It’s important to understand, though, that insurance companies are for-profit businesses with a vested interest in minimizing the amount they pay on your claim. The less they pay, the more they profit, so don’t be surprised if you experience delays, get lowballed on a settlement offer, or even have the insurer deny some or all of your claim.
That’s why you need an experienced attorney to protect your rights. A proven accident and injury lawyer will know what to expect from insurance adjusters and can take the right steps to help maximize your recovery. There are, however, some things that you can do to help ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Know How Much You Want from the Insurance Company
It pays to have a clear understanding of all your losses, both now and in the future. Your attorney can help you calculate what are referred to as economic losses—those tangible losses to which you can readily assign a dollar value. That typically includes unreimbursed medical bills, lost wages or income, the costs of future medical care, any modifications to your home or lifestyle to accommodate your injuries, and all property losses. Know the minimum amount you need to be made whole, but keep that to yourself.
Let the Insurance Company Make the First Offer
If you make the first offer, you’ve set your upper limit. The initial offer from the insurance company may be much less than you need, but it could actually be more than you anticipated. If the insurer offers you more than your minimum amount, you can adjust your offer upward to maximize your recovery.
Resist the Urge to Take the Initial Offer
You can easily be tempted to take the first offer from the insurer. It may be more money than you’ve ever seen at one time, but remember that it probably covers a wide range of losses. Unfortunately, in the long run, it may be inadequate to meet all your needs. The best answer to the insurance company’s initial offer is “let me consult with my attorney.” Don’t be intimidated if the insurer puts pressure on you, telling you that the offer is “only good if you accept right now.” That’s usually a sign that they are willing to offer more, but are hoping to get a quick settlement.
Ask the Insurance Company to Support a Lower Offer
If the insurance company puts an offer on the table that’s less than your minimum, ask them to explain why the offer is so low. In many instances, an initial lowball offer is just a tactic to see if you really know what your claim is worth. Ask the insurance company to document its reasons in writing, so that you (and your attorney) can respond to them point-by-point.
Be Willing to Discuss the Emotional Impact of the Accident
Even though most insurance policies don’t provide benefits for emotional distress, adjusters are human beings and can be affected by the emotional consequences of an accident. Describing the pain and suffering caused by an accident can often be an incentive for an insurer to make a fair settlement offer.
Contact the Proven Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident. To set up an appointment with an experienced car accident injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.