Many people will receive payment from a car insurance company within a few weeks of suffering an accident. However, the amount on the check may not be enough to cover the full amount of losses, especially if the crash caused severe injuries. If the offer is too low, it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate the amount with your claim adjuster—but it will take time and skill to get the company to agree to an acceptable amount.
How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement
You do not have to accept the first amount offered by your insurance company if it is not enough. A low first offer is often open for negotiation, and can be brought up several thousand dollars simply by providing a counteroffer and compelling evidence to support the amount requested.
If you are negotiating with the insurer yourself, it is important that you:
- Know your car insurance policy inside-out. The insurer is not going to give you an amount above the policy limit, and will not pay for anything that is specifically excluded under the policy. You should read your insurance policy declaration page carefully to learn what is covered, what is not covered, and the payment limits.
- Know what you are willing to accept. You should have a firm number in mind that will compensate you for your covered losses (including property damage and medical expenses from the crash). Once you have calculated the amount of your losses, you should decide on a minimum and maximum payment range that is acceptable to you. Keep these numbers in mind when negotiating, but do not share them with the insurance company.
- Be prepared to wait. Claims adjusters are paid to save the insurance company as much money as possible, and they have years of training in reducing the amount paid on claims. You should be prepared to go back and forth with offers and counteroffers many times to reach an agreement, which could take several months.
If your claim has been denied, delayed, or lowballed after a car accident, our injury attorneys can negotiate a settlement that works for you. Contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment in our Illinois or Missouri offices, or download your FREE copy of one of our books, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases or The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case!