It’s a given that you will be negotiating with the insurance company after you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident. The first thing you’ll probably do is go see the doctor. After that, you’ll hire a good personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer will send the defendant’s insurance company a demand letter which states your personal injury accident, the nature of your injuries and property damage, the amount you want as a settlement, and the evidence justifying that. The insurance company will respond with an amount that’s much lower than the settlement amounts you’re asking for.
Your lawyer will respond with another demand letter that asks for a settlement amount that’s between your initial settlement demand and what the insurance company is offering. The dance of negotiations continues until you and the insurer finally agree on a settlement amount. There is another way to negotiate your dream settlement amount without doing all of that ‘song and dance’ with the insurance company.
Decide on a Settlement Amount Well in Advance
You and your injury lawyer in Calgary need to research and calculate what your claim is worth well before you draft the demand letter. Your personal injury accident settlement will be in a particular range. It’s your job to decide (with your lawyer) what the minimum settlement amount that you’ll accept will be.
Never reveal this minimum amount to the adjuster. That amount is just established to keep you from caving into pressure from the defendant’s insurance company. Note that you can and must adjust the minimum amount if the adjuster provides valid points for a lower settlement amount. Similarly, you should adjust your figure up if the insurer’s initial offer amount matches your minimum settlement amount.
Letter on Reservation of Rights
Don’t panic if you get this from the defendant’s insurance company. It just means that while the company is investigating your claim, it does reserve the right to not pay if your accident is outside of coverage. The letter is designed to protect the insurance company. You can’t sue for a settlement just because the company investigated your claim!
Don’t take the first offer
It reeks of desperation. The insurance company will offer you a ridiculously low amount to test you to see if you’ll take it. Remember that you can’t pursue the defendant for more money after you accept a settlement, even if you need it. The reason is that you’ll sign a release form before you can get the settlement money.
Ask the Adjuster to Justify Lower Offers
Don’t budge in your minimum settlement if this happens. Instead, ask the adjuster to justify his or her lower offer. Note his or her responses and then draft a demand letter that responds to every point the adjuster discussed in defending his or her lower settlement amount. Be sure to provide plenty of evidence justifying your points.