It can be difficult knowing where to turn after an accident. To be paid what you are owed, some negotiations will be required. Fortunately, you don't have to actually do any negotiating as long as you have an auto accident lawyer on your side. To learn more about getting your accident settlement negotiated, read below.
What Not To Do
To arrive at a place where your lawyer can begin the legal process, what you don't do is as important, if not more so, than what you do. With that in mind, follow these tips:
- Don't speak to the other side (the other driver's insurance representatives) for any reason – no matter what they tell you
- Don't agree to a settlement, sign an accident release, or cash a check from the other insurer
- Don't avoid getting medical care – it's a must for personal injury cases
Throw Out the First Pitch
To get things started, you and your personal injury lawyer have to let the other side know that you intend to take action against them. They can, however, avoid being taken to court if they agree to your demands. You and your lawyer will get together and decide on a sum of money that makes you happy and that your lawyer judges to be adequate. That money is then demanded of the other side with a letter.
Let the Negotiations Begin
You probably will agree that dealing with an insurance company is not for the weak of heart. These companies only make money by not paying accident victims what they are owed, and they can be tough negotiators. Before the demand letter is written, your lawyer will spend time on calculations to ensure that you are paid what is customary in your area for similar accidents. The demand also includes what you deserve for medical expenses, your wrecked vehicle, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Once the other side is in receipt of the demand letter, things will pick up steam, and phone calls will begin to go back and forth.
What Else You Need To Know About Negotiations
- Don't worry about how much time your case is taking. Things will progress even if you are not aware of it. Be patient and let your lawyer handle things.
- The demand amount in the letter may be higher than what you will actually accept. It's common to pad the demand with extra to leave room for negotiations.
- When the other side responds, it can be disappointingly low. It's common for the first offer from the at-fault driver's insurer to be a low-ball offer to judge your desperation.
Knowing what to expect can help you understand the behind-the-scenes negotiations. Speak to a personal injury lawyer to find out more.