Every aspect of a car accident is stressful, from the actual collision to dealing with the complex insurance and legal matters afterward. You may dread this process so much that you want to get through it as quickly as possible. This may lead you to trust the insurance adjuster and simply sign off on everything. But be wary about dealing with insurance companies.
The fact of the matter is that insurance providers are not on the side of injured people, which can make the negotiation process tricky. Here are some guidelines for properly dealing with the insurance company after a wreck.
Determine what damages you can collect
If you are free of fault and filing an insurance claim, the first thing you should do to set yourself up for a good settlement is figuring out what damages you are entitled to and how much you deserve. Potential damages may include:
- Vehicle damage
- Property damage for items harmed in the accident
- Car rental
- Out-of-pocket costs, such as taking a cab to get home after the crash
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
Do some basic calculations to have an approximate settlement amount in mind. This will give you an idea of the compensation you need. If you get an offer that is significantly lower, this should sound the alarm bells.
Avoid accepting the first offer
The insurance adjuster may throw out a low-ball offer in hopes of not having to pay you what you truly deserve. This is a common tactic to see if you know how to negotiate a settlement. Instead of signing off on the initial offer, you should try to bargain and compromise. With the right legal guidance, you may be able to get a significantly higher settlement.
While you may want to believe the best in people, it is crucial to realize that it is not the job of an insurance adjuster to think of your needs. This is why having a negotiation strategy is vital.