It can be intimidating to face the process of negotiating with auto accident claims adjusters after a Florida car accident. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then you should consider hiring a car accident attorney to handle the stressful details of your claim and communication with the insurance company. If your situation is small enough for you to feel comfortable managing it yourself, then you will need to know how to negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster.
What is the Insurance Adjuster’s Job?
The insurance claims adjuster is hired by an insurance company to determine the value of your claim after a car accident. They will take into account the damages done, the repair costs, and the value of the vehicle. The goal will be to reach a figure that is agreeable to you to settle your case.
It is in the insurance company’s best interest, and naturally in the claims adjuster’s best interest as well to get you to agree to an amount that is as low as they can possibly make it. This is the real goal and you need to be aware of this. It’s important that you don’t make the mistake of thinking that the insurance claims adjuster wants to make sure you receive adequate compensation and remember that he or she is in the business of convincing you to settle low.
How Can You be Prepared?
You need to be just as prepared, if not more so, as the insurance adjuster when you go into a negotiation. He or she will be more than prepared to argue with the points that you present, so have medical records, repair bills, estimates of damage, and your accident report handy. You should also bring records of your lost wages and time off of work. Then, do the math yourself so that you have a figure in mind when you go into speak to the adjuster.
Being prepared is what will ensure that you are not caught off guard by the figures and facts that the insurance adjuster has brought along to overwhelm you. You can’t just say that you want more money. You have to show evidence to justify a specific amount that you expect to receive. The more evidence and records you can show, the better your argument will be.
Start High in Your Negotiation
To leave yourself enough room to maneuver and compromise, you should make your first offer high, setting the ceiling for your negotiation. Don’t ask for the exact amount that you will need to cover your losses and expenses. Start with an amount that you are comfortable moving down from to settle the case.
Take Your Time
The claims adjuster will want to settle your case quickly and move on to the next one. He or she is going to have a busy schedule to keep, and they don’t want to waste any more time than necessary dealing with one claim. It is also widely known by the insurance companies that moving quickly is the best way to get you to agree to a lower sum than you deserve. They use tactics like putting pressure on you to settle right away when it would be better to wait until you have all of your bills and have anticipated the possibility of future surgeries and expenses.
Signing the financial settlement agreement will mean that you have closed your case file and cannot return to it to receive more money at a later date. You should never move forward with a settlement agreement until you have all of your final bills in hand. At the same time, be aware that you must settle your claim or file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out (the time period after your accident in which you can file). Contact an attorney to find out what the statute of limitations is for your case.
Don’t Settle for Inadequate Compensation
Even if your negotiations are unsuccessful and you cannot come to an agreement, you should still avoid settling for less than you deserve. When this happens, you should hire a personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf, potentially inspiring the insurance company to finally reach an appropriate settlement. If not, then you can sue to get the compensation you need. Never threaten a lawsuit before hiring an attorney who will be prepared to take the case all the way to the end. It is not likely that the insurance company will take you seriously until you have a personal injury lawyer.