How Negotiating Your Car Accident Insurance Settlement

May 13, 2016
Car Insurance - If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering how to best proceed with settling a vehicle damage or injury claim against the other driver, so you can put the accident behind you and get on with your life. In this article, we'll offer some tips on the best strategy for setting a car accident claim.

If you have filed a car insurance claim to recover money for property damage to your vehicle, bodily injury or both, you will need to negotiate a car accident settlement to get the payout you deserve. Negotiating a car accident insurance settlement is not difficult if you are comfortable and prepared. When you negotiate your car accident settlement, you will need to work closely with an insurance claims adjuster who is responsible for investigating the accident and deciding what the company will pay.

Even though the other driver may have caused the accident, you usually will not be dealing directly with the other driver in attempting to settle your claim for damages. Typically you will work directly with the other driver’s insurance company.

You can respond to the car insurance settlement offer, by politely declining and writing a claim letter with a counter offer reflecting the figure you believe your claim is worth. The adjuster will then respond with their own counter offer that should be closer to your acceptable range, and you two will begin negotiating the car accident settlement. You may venture into back-and-forth negotiations for a while, so be patient don't let any delays deter you to give in quickly and accept less than you deserve.

The best way to successfully pursue and settle a claim with the other driver or their insurance company is to understand that the insurance company will require a lot of information from you.

How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement?

Because of this, it is important to gather certain information while you’re still at the scene of the accident, including the name and contact information for the following:

    the other driver
    the other driver’s insurance company
    any witnesses to the accident, and
    any law enforcement officers the come to the scene.

It is also a good idea to take photographs while you are still at the accident scene. Most of us carry cell phones, and most of those cell phones have camera capabilities. While you are at the accident scene, take pictures of the following:

    the locations of the vehicles
    areas of physical damage on each vehicle, and
    the license plates of each vehicle.

 Request alternative dispute resolution (mediation or arbitration).
    Hire an attorney to continue the negotiations for you.
    File a complaint with your state's Department of Insurance. Do this if you truly feel you are at an impasse, especially if you feel the low amount is in bad faith. Consider hiring an attorney who is well versed in insurance bad faith cases to file a suit against the insurance company for bad faith negotiations.

If your car accident attorney reaches an impasse and is convinced your case has greater value than the insurance company is assigning it, he or she might suggest filing a lawsuit against the insurance company or the negligent driver. Do not be afraid of this option if the car accident settlement process is not going to get you the money you need to pay for your damages.

Car Accident Insurance
 The other thing to remember is that the insurance company is NOT on your side. The insurance company is in business to make money, and it makes money when it pays out less money to you on a claim than it otherwise has to. The insurance company tries to accomplish this by arguing

(1) the accident was completely or partially your fault, and so you should only be paid a reduced amount on your claim, and

 (2) you haven’t provided sufficient documentation to support your claims of loss. Sometimes it may argue both points with you.

You may find this process frustrating, and even exasperating. However, the more information and documentation you provide to the insurance company, the more likely you are to receive fair compensation from the insurance company for all of your damages. Remember, the insurance company is not required to reach a settlement agreement with you.
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