Regardless of whether you were at fault in a car accident, the insurance providers you are working with will need to determine the value of your vehicle. You can often receive compensation for the accident to cover the cost of repairs or replacing your car. However, a specific process needs to be followed as you negotiate with insurance companies.
Doing your research, preparing the case, and leaning on the support of an experienced attorney is the best solution to help you maximize available payouts. Your attorney can offer recommendations and logistical support and even handle the nuances of the negotiations.
Always Hire an Attorney
Never assume that a DIY approach is sufficient when negotiating with insurance companies. The insurance provider has different strategies to avoid losing money when paying out for an accident. You will have a claims adjuster focused on offering the smallest amount possible for this settlement.
Typically, a DIY approach for insurance negotiations results in much lower payouts compared to the results that can be achieved by working with an experienced personal injury attorney. The insurance company will try to choose the lowest value of the vehicle, but there are ways to show a higher value for the vehicle. If you don’t have legal experience, then it means that you are likely overlooking potential compensation that can be bundled into the overall negotiations.
Locking in the Value of Your Car
There are two different methods that might be used for determining the value of your car, depending on the type of insurance claim being filed.
- First-Party Insurance Benefits: This type of claim means that your insurance company covers your needs and those of anyone else in your car when the accident occurred. First-party benefits can cover all related medical expenses resulting from the accident.
- Third-Party Benefits: When damage occurs because of the accident, third-party coverage kicks in. Insurance payments might be available for both liability coverage and bodily injury coverage.
You’ll want to know the value of the car as soon as possible. Instead of relying on the insurance company’s valuation, put in the work to determine a fair value price for your vehicle. Remember that the insurance adjuster is working to pay the minimum amount. You can increase the amount you collect by gathering value estimates from several sources.
For example, ask your mechanic to provide an estimate, visit one or two other mechanics for estimates, and check your car’s value on popular websites such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. If the insurance adjuster’s value is lower than your research estimates, rest assured, knowing that you don’t have to accept the low-ball estimate.
Simple Strategies for Getting a Higher Value
Not only will your research give you a good starting point for determining the value of your car, but there are several other things you can do to get a higher value. For example, look for ways to put more emphasis on the emotional aspects of the case. Provide plenty of photos showing the extent of the damages and documentation about your inability to get to work because of a lack of transportation.
Many victims don’t have the time or experience to negotiate with insurance companies, which is why it makes sense to hire an attorney. For small claims, it might not be worth the legal fees. But if it is a bigger case and you expect a significant payout, talk to a personal injury attorney to see if it makes sense to hire legal help.
Tips for Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Negotiation is always an essential step to optimize the amount of compensation you receive for the settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney will assist in this process to develop a solid case on your behalf.
The goal of negotiating with insurance companies is to access fair compensation without taking the case to court. The insurance company will be motivated to find a win-win solution in the settlement because they want to avoid court proceedings. If the first offer from the insurance provider isn’t adequate, then you can decline the offer and ask for better terms.
Remember the high and low numbers you are willing to accept (based on the estimates you researched). Then, be strategic about the negotiations while evaluating the nuances of the offers they are presenting.
In fact, you don’t have to file a lawsuit in the beginning. Instead, reach out to the insurance company to start the negotiation process. Then, if a settlement can’t be reached, this is the point where you can move forward with other legal steps.
Determining Fault in the Accident
Determining which driver was at fault in the accident is one step in the negotiations. The person at fault is the one held liable to pay for damages. So, the insurance adjuster will be proactive in trying to prove that their client is not at fault.
If the other driver’s insurance company can prove that you are at fault for at least a portion of the accident, they will use this argument to reduce the amount they must pay. You must be proactive about building the case and collecting documentation to show that the other driver was at fault. Your attorney can help build this case using photos, police reports, and witness testimony to prove the circumstances of the case.
Agreeing to a Settlement
Once you agree to a settlement, you won’t be able to go back to change the terms of the negotiation. So, it’s important to make sure that you are satisfied with the settlement before signing on the bottom line. It’s a good idea to have your attorney review the settlement details and fine print, ensuring your needs are met.
The Help You Need: Negotiating with Insurance Companies
You don’t need to handle the negotiations alone. If you need help with your personal injury case, contact the experts here at Wormington & Bollinger. We offer free consultations and top-notch legal support for your unique needs. Contact us at your convenience to learn more about available legal services.