The insurance adjuster settlement negotiation process is stressful. Outside of the injury or accident itself, negotiating the terms of settlement adds additional tension. Although adjustors are part of the settlement process, they may be intimidating to work with. Use the following tips to negotiate like a pro.
Become extremely familiar with the case details. Do not give the insurance adjustors the upper hand by being complacent in seeking out further case details.
Continue preparing and familiarize yourself with personal injury law and the insurance company’s policies. This prevents the adjustors from taking advantage of your ignorance by talking around certain details that could be crucial in the settlement decision.
Prepare all documents that are necessary to prove your claim. This includes medical records bills that prove both examination and injury, and police reports and witness accounts that corroborate your account of the incident. Written demand statements are crucial because they provide a paper trail of proof documenting the incident and what you are asking for.
Be Polite, But Discerning
When answering a phone call or having a face-to-face meeting with an insurance adjustor, be polite. Becoming emotional prevents the settlement conversation from effectively progressing. It also paints you in a negative light and decreases the adjustor’s willingness to patiently navigate all points of contention that you present. Be polite, but do not become a pushover.
Provide only the information that the insurance company needs to know regarding the claim. Giving excess information, or signing documentation, without first consulting a Layton personal injury attorney can cause problems. Similarly, record information by taking notes during any conversation you have with them, including any documentation they ask you to sign. Keep these notes for your records.
Do Not Take the First Offer
Never take the first settlement that the insurance adjustors offer. Insurance companies take advantage of the emotional stress caused by negotiation scenarios and offer lower settlement options to individuals who are not direct in their demands. This costs the insurance company less money.
Reject the first settlement, or any offer that you do not agree with, and provide a counteroffer. The importance of written record follows into negotiation outcomes. Reject a settlement offer in writing, and clearly state your counteroffer. Ask for a higher settlement in your counteroffer than you realistically would ask for otherwise. The insurance adjustor will likely lower the amount to a more reasonable sum that is still more than the original settlement.
After repeated failed counteroffers, walk away. Be clear that you will take legal action in the case that the adjustors do not agree on a fair settlement. Insurance companies do not want to be sued. The court process costs insurance companies time, money, and bad press.
Remember to be patient during settlement negotiations. It is not necessary to answer every phone call from an adjustor during negotiation, especially when you are busy. Insurance companies will call during inopportune times, like during holiday season. This is an effort to bait you into taking their offer without putting much thought into it. Do not fall for this trick – negotiate and accept offers during appropriate times.
Accept an Offer
Use negotiation techniques to settle a fair amount of money. Do not try to cheat the insurance company out of money. If an adjustor offers a fair settlement – take it.
Negotiating a settlement is intimidating if you feel out of your element. Although you should always find an attorney that will help with the settlement process, the act of conversing with insurance adjustors and accepting/rejecting offers falls into your hands.