Negotiating with an insurance company after a car accident can take time. For some people, the idea of going back and forth with the company can be stressful and this can influence their decision of whether or not to accept a settlement offer. Unfortunately, this could lead to a lower than deserved settlement. If you are in negotiations with an insurance company, here are some things to consider before accepting an offer.
Is It the First Offer?
Once the insurance company has received your demand letter detailing how much you expect to receive for your damages, the adjuster handling your claim will counter. The counteroffer is typically far less than what was asked and with good reason.
The adjuster usually starts low because he or she wants to determine whether or not you are aware of how much your case is worth. Many people who enter into negotiations do not and insurance companies save a lot of money by lowballing settlements.
If this is your first offer from the insurance company, it is likely that it is not a fair offer. As such, it might be best to keep going with the negotiation process.
How Strong Is Your Case?
At some point in the negotiations process, the insurance company will stop negotiating. Once the final offer is put on the table, you have to decide whether or not to take it or to head to court.
If you have a strong case, going to court could work in your favor. In court, a judge and jury could side with you and you could walk away with an award that is closer to the amount you asked for from the insurance company.
However, if your case is not that strong, accepting the final offer might be the best option. Juries can be fickle. It is entirely possible that the jury will side with the insurance company. If that happens, you lose out on having your damages paid for.
Your car accident attorney can help you objectively assess your case and determine whether or not going to court would be the best option.
Is It the Final Offer?
Of course, it is unlikely the adjuster will inform you that the offer you received is his or her final one, but there are clues you can look for to help you determine if it is. If you believe that this is not the final offer, continuing in the negotiations process could work in your favor.
If the adjuster is adamant that the offer is the best he or she can do "at the time," it is possible that it is not the final offer. Your attorney 9such as one from Loughlin Fitzgerald P C) can help analyze the adjuster's words so that you are sure you cannot negotiate for a higher offer.