Negotiation Process in a Personal Injury Case

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2010, insurance companies paid out over $99 billion to those who had been injured in car accidents that year. It is important to remember that although insurance companies exist to protect policyholders, they are still businesses that must protect their assets.

The job of your insurance adjuster is to keep from paying out. As a result, if you have been injured and are working to reach a personal injury claim settlement, be advised that negotiation will be key.

Negotiation 101

As you negotiate your claim with your insurance company, you will be discussing coverage, liability, the extent and type of your injuries as well as your medical treatment, including the type of treatment and the nature in which your injuries are treated.

The steps of negotiation are typically as follows: you (or your attorney on your behalf) will ask for a specific amount in a demand letter. The insurance adjuster will respond with any issues with your claim, if there are questions about liability, for example, or if the adjuster thinks that your recovery period or therapy time was too long or unnecessary given the injuries you sustained. You will then reply with justifications to those arguments, and the insurance adjuster will respond with a counteroffer that is considerably lower than the initial amount in your demand letter.

You and/or your attorney will then reply by making another counter demand, which is lower than your initial request. The adjuster will respond with an offer slightly higher than the last counteroffer. You are then at liberty to take the claim amount or to counter with another demand.

Best Practices

As you are going through the negotiation process, it is extremely important that you stay organized by taking notes of all of your conversations with the insurance adjuster. Remember that claims can take time and that your settlement will not be reached overnight. On the other hand, it is crucial that you stay on top of the proceedings, and follow up with persistence if necessary. Above all, be sure to communicate clearly and in a calm manner with your adjuster. Having good manners during this stressful time may be difficult, but could ultimately help your claim.