In the aftermath of a car accident, it won’t be long before you’re negotiating with an insurance company. While you think you have a beat on the steps you can take to protect your legal rights, keep in mind that insurance companies have many years of experience settling cases for less than what the victim is owed.
There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when negotiating a final settlement, including the following:
- The amount of money a jury may award in the case
- How much money it will take to get the case to trial
- The risk of taking the case to trial
The primary benefit of settling directly with an insurance company, as opposed to heading to trial, is the ability to save the 33 percent contingency fee charged by a personal injury law firm. In the event that the case doesn’t settle before trial, it’s likely that this amount could increase to as high as 50 percent of the verdict.
Furthermore, it takes a lot of money to simply move the case to trial, as there are fees associated with medical professionals and other expert witnesses. It’s critical to keep these fees in mind as you consider negotiating directly with an insurance company.
Finally, don’t forget that there is no guarantee when you go to court. Even if you did nothing wrong and feel that your case is cut and dried, there is no guarantee that you will come out on top. And if you do, it’s possible that the amount of money you receive may not be nearly as high as you thought.
Tips for negotiating with an insurance company
Negotiating with an insurance company is easier said than done, as your lack of knowledge and experience puts you at a disadvantage. However, there are steps you can follow to even the score:
- Review and understand the terms and conditions of your policy
- Hire a legal professional to represent you in negotiations
- Don’t accept the first offer
- Collect evidence to back up your claim, such as medical records and photos of the accident scene
It may be hard to believe, but the insurance company would much rather negotiate and settle with you than drag out your case. As long as you understand your policy and legal rights, you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.