There is nothing that prevents or disallows you from negotiating your own personal injury claim. However, dealing with an insurance adjuster can prove challenging, especially if you are unfamiliar with the law and the complete merits of your case. For this reason, it’s advisable that you secure the services of an attorney to assist in your negotiations. If you do choose to negotiate on your own, there are strategies that can assist you in your endeavor.
Know The Process
It’s important that you know and understand the claims process before speaking with an insurance adjuster.
- The notification letter puts the insurance company of the at-fault party on notice that you have suffered damages and plan to seek compensation.
- The company will likely respond with a Reservation of Rights letter that states their willingness to speak with you, but asserts that no liability is admitted.
- You will then send a demand letter, stating your damage claim amount.
- The insurance company adjuster will contact you and likely deny your claim request, which begins the negotiation process.
- Negotiations will continue back and forth with the adjuster you both agree on a settlement amount.
Dealing with an Adjuster
The successful settlement of your claim depends on the strength of your supporting evidence, as well as your ability to negotiate with the adjuster. An adjuster is a representative of the insurance company. The main goal of her job is to negotiate settlements for the least possible amount. This is an important fact to remember when going forward in the process. Do not take the words or actions of the adjuster personally. You claim is likely one of hundreds that she is working on and virtually everything she does is strategic to the goal of a low settlement.
When approaching your negotiations, ensure that your documentation and evidence is available and organized for your convenience. It is not uncommon for an adjuster to misplace or overlook paperwork. When asserting your claim, it is to your advantage to have quick access to supporting information. Create a file with sections for medical documentation, medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses. This will also assist with your confidence as you approach the bartering process.
Also, don’t feel afraid to reject a low offer. If you are fairly confident about the worth of your case, do not allow the adjuster to force your acceptance of a low offer. You are not bound to accept any offer made to you. You can come back with a counteroffer or reject it outright by sticking with your requested amount. Sometimes the adjuster is testing you to see if you will bite. Weigh your options and don’t be afraid to say no if you feel it’s in your best interest.