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Imagen destacada Accidentes de tráfico

After a car accident, you might not initially want to file a lawsuit but rather settle your claim with the insurance company for a fair amount and move on with your life. That’s reasonable, but you might be wondering how to negotiate with an insurance company after a car accident. This blog discusses 7 essential negotiation tips for your car accident settlement. 

7 Tips for Negotiating with the Auto Insurance Carrier After an Accident

In those moments, days, and weeks following a car crash, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out what to do. You suddenly see medical bills piling up, but you can’t return to work because of your injury. You know you need to seek compensation from the insurance company, but you aren’t sure how, so we have put together a list of 7 tips to help guide you through. 

File a Claim Immediately

The first thing you should do—after seeking emergency medical care—is file a claim with the insurance company. You want to contact your insurance company and let them know what happened.

Because Texas is an at-fault state, ultimately, you will want to see compensation from the liable party’s insurance. It is essential to file your claim as soon as possible to preserve your rights and provide your recollection of events while they are still fresh in your mind. 

The insurance adjuster will likely request a recorded statement from you to gather necessary information, including what happened and what injuries you sustained. It is vital to keep to the facts when providing statements to the insurance company. They can use what you say against you later. 

Gather Evidence and Keep Organized, Accurate Records 

From the minutes after the accident through the fruition of your claim, you will obtain many records and documents. You should keep everything you receive or obtain in an organized manner so that you can reliably access it later. 

Examples of records and evidence you might receive include:

  • Police and accident report,
  • Medical records and bills,
  • Estimates,
  • Cost of repair or replacement of your car,
  • Photos of the damage,
  • Pictures of your injuries,
  • Eyewitness contact information and statements, and
  • Surveillance video.

We strongly encourage you to keep an accurate and organized record to rely on in settlement negotiations later. Think about it: if you show up at the negotiation table with crumbled, disorganized, ripped documents, that information is much less persuasive and reliable than showing up with a folder of clean, organized papers ready to present to the insurance adjuster or opposing attorney. 

Determine a Fair Settlement and Send a Demand

One of the first steps in the negotiation and settlement process is to draft and send a demand letter to the insurance company. In the demand letter, you must include a dollar amount you would accept as a settlement. It is important to consider this number thoroughly to reflect your anticipated financial needs accurately.

When calculating your demand amount, you will want to consider the following:

  • The cost of your medical expenses to date,
  • Anticipated medical expenses in the future,
  • Any lost wages to date and anticipated lost income,
  • Whether your injuries will permanently hinder your ability to earn a living,
  • Cost of repair or replacement of your vehicle,
  • Dolor y sufrimiento, y
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Considering all of this, you should calculate a fair settlement number that you will accept. 

It is common for the insurance company to reject your initial demand. Often, claims will start at that number and decrease through negotiations, so it is important to be prepared to accept less than your demand amount.

Of course, you must also include documentation and evidence to support your demand. It can be difficult to accurately and objectively determine a reasonable settlement amount. A car accident lawyer can help.

Do Not Accept the First Offer

Whether before you submit your formal demand or in response to it, you should never accept the first settlement offer made by the insurance company. Remember, it’s the insurance company’s job to pay as little as possible to your claim. Almost always, the first offer will be low.

Having the proper evidence and negotiating skills to get the insurance company to increase their offer is critical to success.

If you receive a low offer, it is important to respond calmly and accurately. Losing your cool can make things worse. Instead, respond in writing, asking for justification and reasoning for their offer and explaining why you are entitled to more. Often, they will increase their offer. If they don’t, an experienced attorney can help negotiate on your behalf.

Escalate Your Claim

If you encounter a roadblock with a claims adjuster, it might be time to request to speak with a supervisor or manager in the claims department. Sometimes, escalating your claim within the liability department can yield better results.

Obtain Everything in Writing

Request all settlement offers and communication in writing from the insurance company. If you discuss over the phone, take notes and jot down key details of the conversation and the date and time of the call. Most of these phone conversations are conducted on a recorded line, so copies of the transcripts should be requested if necessary.

It is also a good idea to ask the claims adjuster to summarize what was discussed on the phone in an email and send it to you to recap what transpired. The more you have in writing, the less that can be disputed later.

Know When You Should Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

While it is possible to negotiate a car accident settlement on your own, it is essential to know when it’s time to hire an attorney to help. Sometimes, you cannot get the insurance company to budge, and hiring a car accident lawyer can reiterate to them that you are serious and will not accept a less-than-fair settlement.

Our experienced legal team knows what insurance companies are looking for and how to negotiate tactfully on your behalf. If an out-of-court settlement is not possible, it may be time to consider filing a civil lawsuit.

Texas Car Accident Lawyers

At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we provide detailed, personalized attention to each client the moment they walk through the door. The car accident attorney you meet at your initial consultation will be with you throughout the entirety of your case. We promise to be with you every step of the way. Contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation

Dónde encontrar nuestra oficina de Waco, TX

Foto del autor

Michael Zimmerman

Michael nació en Houston, Texas. Estudió en las universidades de Baylor y Texas State, donde se licenció en Ciencias en 1987. Se especializó en Biología y en Química. Terminó su educación legal en Texas Southern University en 1990, obteniendo un Doctorado en Derecho de la Escuela de Derecho Thurgood Marshall. Fue admitido en el Colegio de Abogados del Estado de Texas en 1990.

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