10 Tips for Negotiating Your Car Accident Settlement

car accident

Florida law gives you the right to full recovery for your losses after an accident. The insurance company should pay you everything you deserve based on the terms of the policy that applies. Unfortunately, the insurance company makes their profits when they take in premiums without paying claims. They have a financial incentive to deny legitimate claims.

To get a fair payment for your losses, you may need work with a car accident lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company. It might sound intimidating to go up against a big company, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things that you can do to make your negotiations professional and productive. Here are ten tips for negotiating with the insurance company after a car accident.

Value Your Damages

The first step to negotiations with the insurance company is to know what you’re negotiating for. Carefully value all of the types of damages that you may be able to claim. Familiarize yourself with the types of damages that are available to you in a Florida car accident including medical bills, rehabilitation services, lost work, property damage, and physical and emotional suffering.

You don’t want to ask for way too much, but you also don’t want to leave anything out. Once you have an honest assessment of the value of your claim, you can approach the insurance company with a plan in mind to negotiate a settlement.

Determine What You’re Willing to Accept and What You Really Want to Recover

You should take some time to think about what you want to recover for your losses. You should think about what amount is fair and what amount would really make you happy. It’s also important to determine what the lowest amount you’re willing to accept is.

Don’t ever tell the other side what your settlement goals are. Your goal is to get the maximum settlement that you can that fairly represents your losses. Thinking about your settlement goals ahead of time is a way for you to have a baseline for negotiations and a way to evaluate any settlement offers that you receive.

Don’t Be Surprised If the Insurance Company Gives You a Low Offer

While you want to get the maximum recovery, the insurance company wants the case to settle at the lowest possible amount. That means you shouldn’t be surprised if they start out with a very low offer. They’re hoping that you assume you have to accept any offer they give.

When that lowball offer arrives, it’s easy to react with anger. You might be upset with the insurance company for being unfair. Try to remember that they’re likely just using an insurance tactic in hopes that you’ll bite and settle the case for much less than it’s worth. Take a deep breath and remember you’re in negotiations.

Keep Notes of Your Strongest Points for Conversations

Speaking with an insurance adjuster can be intimidating. It can be helpful to keep notes of your most compelling points with you for when you talk with the insurance company’s representative. That way, you’ll sound organized and serious about getting a fair recovery in your case.

Jot down some notes about what you feel your strongest points are. It may also be helpful to think through how you might respond to some of the insurance company’s arguments against your case. Whatever information you need to respond to the insurance adjuster, you’ll have it right at your fingertips.

Have Documentation of Your Damages Ready to Go

The insurance company may want you to verify your losses with financial records. That’s fair. Save documentation of your losses and expenses because of the accident.

Save medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and information about lost work. You may need to document missed work with a note from your employer and copies of your pay stubs. Having the documentation helps prove your losses to the insurance company.

Be Professional

Even though the insurance representative may be unreasonable or infuriating, don’t lose your cool. The goal is to show the insurance company that you mean business.

Related: Do’s and Don’ts of Car Accident Insurance Claims in Tampa, FL

Staying polite and professional shows the insurance company that you’re serious about doing what’s necessary to get justice in your case. It shows the insurance company that you’re a force to be reckoned with.

Be Patient When You Receive an Offer

If the insurance adjuster sends a settlement offer, don’t respond too quickly. If they give you an offer orally, ask them to put it in writing.

Responding too quickly sends the message that you’re desperate. You want the insurance company to know that you’re going to work as long as it takes to get a fair settlement in your case.

Don’t Assume Your Case Is Going to Settle

Even though you hope that your case settles, don’t assume that it’s going to settle. When you assume that your case is going to settle, you might neglect to gather crucial evidence.

If the insurance company knows that you aren’t carefully preserving evidence, they might lowball you even further because they know you’re probably not taking your case to trial. Continue to prepare and build your case as though it’s going to end up in a courtroom ultimately.

Related: What to Know About Settling Your Car Accident Case

Watch out for Delays

If the insurance company starts delaying your case for no reason, be skeptical. If they try to deny your claim for weak reasons that don’t make any sense or they say that your case is continuously under investigation with little progress, it’s a red flag. Don’t assume that the insurance company is fair or looking out for your best interests.

Related: How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in Florida?

Contact an Attorney If Things Begin to Stall

When talks stall with the insurance company or they stop calling you back, it’s time to work with an attorney. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They can also help you determine when it’s time to bring a formal claim.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Although negotiations can be stressful, the team at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys is here to ensure you get the compensation you need. With a legal team of more than 40 experts, we have the experience to help you take on the insurance company. We will help you with every step along the way.

If you need help negotiating with the insurance company after a car accident, call us at (813) 333-6666 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation. There is no fee unless we win.

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

For more than 35 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.