However, though they are obligated to compensate you for trauma, injuries, and property damage, insurance companies will often try to low-ball you with their settlement offers. Even if a settlement offer seems fair, remember that it is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay you as little money as possible. As a result, it is generally in your best interest to discuss your claim and the insurance company’s offer with an attorney before you accept it.
The First Offer is Always Low
To understand how an attorney can help you get a fair settlement, you should first understand how insurance adjusters determine their offers. They will first get your story of what happened in the accident or incident. Then, they will investigate the at-fault party and obtain all documentation associated with the claim (including medical bills, damage to property, lost wages, etc.). They will make their first offer based on these factors and the amount of money they’re authorized to award (based on the other party’s insurance policy).
Be aware that no insurance adjuster is going start negotiations at the middle or top of their spending range. They will open with the lowest offer possible, which will usually do little or nothing to cover pain and suffering and may not even cover all of your medical bills or lost wages. However, countering their offer can be intimidating without professional assistance, which is where your personal injury attorney comes in.
Most reputable personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for cases like these. Schedule an appointment with your attorney and bring all of the relevant documents you have to your case with you. These will include medical bills, an estimate of damage to your vehicle (or any other property damage), documentation of lost wages, and anything else that you think might be relevant.
A qualified personal injury attorney will be able to use these documents to set a reasonable value on compensation for injuries, lost wages, and/or property damage. By talking with you, they can then set a value for pain and suffering. The two of you can then compare this value with the insurance company’s offer and determine whether or not it is fair.
Negotiations With the Insurance Company
In most cases, the settlement offer will not be acceptable, and you should negotiate for more compensation. At this point, keep in mind that insurance companies keep fleets of attorneys on retainer and that they make it their business to pay out as little as possible in personal injury cases of any kind.
Attempting to negotiate a good settlement on your own can be incredibly frustrating, as the insurance company will drag its feet and work as hard as possible to pay you as little as it possibly can. Personal injury attorneys spend their careers fighting for people like you to gain compensation from insurance companies. In most cases, you will gain more with an attorney in your corner – even after their fees are deducted – than you would attempting to negotiate without assistance.
If you have been injured in an accident or incident through no fault of your own, and you are owed compensation through another party’s insurance company, call an attorney today to discuss your claim.