16 Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating Your Car Accident Settlement
Avoid these costly mistakes when negotiating with the other driver’s auto insurance company. See how to maximize your car accident settlement.
More than 4.4 million people are injured in car accidents on american roadways each class, racking up over $ 380 million in crash-related aesculapian expenses. ¹ not amazingly, policy companies don ’ thyroxine like to separate with that kind of money .
If you ’ ve decided to deal with the insurance ship’s company on your own, be prepared for a tough village work. Claims adjusters are trained to do everything possible to minimize payouts.
To get fairly recompense, you ’ ll need to know how to negotiate your car accident settlement like a pro, and the pitfalls to avoid. here are some coarse errors claimants make when negotiating with the insurance company. If you avoid these mistakes, you ’ ll be in a strong negotiate put .
16 Mistakes to Avoid During Claim Negotiations:
Mistake 1: Trusting the Insurance Adjuster
The adjuster is not your acquaintance. insurance claims adjusters are trained to engage claimants in informal discussions. They try to get you to relax, so you let your guard down. Being besides relax makes it much easier for the adjuster to get you to say things they can use against you. Be on your guard at all times .
Don’t be too friendly with the adjuster. Be civilized, but not slavish. You must go into settlement negotiations with a firm hand, believing your side of the call is the accuracy. You don ’ triiodothyronine want the adjuster to “ handle ” you. Set a civil business tone on your inaugural contact and keep it that means .
Don’t give the adjuster your Social Security number. Having your Social Security count allows the adjuster to access a bunch of personal information. Although technically prohibited, the adjuster can check your credit history or access other information that might work against you .
Mistake 2: Speaking Without Thinking
Your probability to negotiate a carnival settlement can be ruined with barely a first few words of insertion with the adjuster. Take this park exchange, for case :
Adjuster: “ Good morning Mr. Smith. How are you today ? ”
You: “ Fine thanks, and you ? ”
You ’ ve equitable made your first mistake, by telling the adjuster you ’ rhenium “ fine. ” A better exchange would go something like this :
Adjuster: “ Good dawn Mr. Smith. How are you today ? ”
You: “ Good dawn. I ’ molarity ready to discuss my injury claim. ”
Don’t rant or offer opinions. Expressing opinions may come late, but for now, just discuss the basic facts. Limit what you say to :
- The location, date, and time of the collision
- Your name, address, phone number, and email
- The location of your car
A few careless remarks can end up costing you thousands of dollars in liquidation money .
Admissions against interest are statements or comments that can be used against you late. The policy company will specifically look for tell of these admissions .
common admissions people make after a crash include :
- “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”
- “I was texting,” or “I was on the phone.”
- “I was talking with my passenger.”
- “My tires are worn. I’ve been meaning to have them replaced.”
- “I just looked down for a second to change the radio station.”
- “I’m okay,” or “I don’t need the paramedics.”
Be careful not to make comments like this at the accident scene or late, when talking to the adjuster. They may come back to bite you .
Mistake 3: Giving a Recorded Statement
Don ’ t agree to give your read statement. It ’ s not a good idea to give a recorded statement without an lawyer to represent you. Once you give a recorded statement, your claim will be limited to the specifics of that affirmation. The merely one who can benefit is the policy party .
During a record consultation, you ’ re likely to be manipulated by the adjuster. handling tactics can include :
- Asking the same question several different ways at different points in the interview
- Making comments and seeking your agreement
- Asking leading questions about the accident, your finances, and what you might have done to avoid the collision
offer to provide a written statement about how the accident happened .
Mistake 4: Signing a Blanket Medical Release
Don ’ t sign any medical releases good away. standard indemnity company free forms allow the ship’s company to gather all your medical information for the past five to ten years. Protect your aesculapian privacy. The adjuster doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate motivation that information at the get down, and should never need your integral health history to settle a minor injury claim .
once you ’ re nearing the end of your treatment, then you can sign a limit spill that allows the policy company to gather copies of your checkup records related to the accident .
alternately, alternatively of letting the indemnity company gather your aesculapian information, you can request all your relevant bills and records, then send copies to the indemnity adjuster .
Mistake 5: Accepting the Adjuster’s First Offer
The adjuster might call with an initial offer arsenic soon as you ’ ve filed an injury claim. If you alone want a few aesculapian bills paid and compensation for a day or two of lost wages, you might be uncoerced to take a minimal settlement offer and call it a day .
Unless you ’ ve amply recovered, you can be indisputable their initial offer is much lower than your claim is actually worth. Keep in mind that your health policy company has a right to be repaid from your wound colonization for what they paid on your behalf .
It ’ randomness o to tell the adjuster you won ’ triiodothyronine be ready to discuss settlement until you ’ ve recovered from your injuries. If the adjuster asks when you expect to be recovered, say “ I don ’ triiodothyronine know. I ’ ll be back in touch. ” and politely end the call .
Mistake 6: Overlooking Important Evidence
You ’ ll need solid car accident attest to prove the other driver ’ randomness liability ( responsibility ) for the crash and to prove the extent of your injuries .
Police Report: The responding policeman ’ sulfur public opinion of blame and description of the accident hold a fortune of burden with adjusters. The patrol report is convincing evidence of the other driver ’ south fault .
Medical Records: Do your homework before you get started. If you don ’ t have all your medical bills, make a proper request for all your bills and records. Use a tracking log to make surely you haven ’ metric ton missed anything .
Lost Wages: Contact your employer ’ second homo resources department and ask for a argument of your lost wages while you are out getting treatment for your injuries. And make certain you have all the receipts for your refer out-of-pocket expenses .
Don ’ t take for granted your claim will settle. Always keep in mind the possibility your case will end up in court. Organize your evidence, commensurateness, and other claim-related paperwork as if you may ultimately have to file a lawsuit .
Mistake 7: Guessing Your Claim’s Value
Don ’ triiodothyronine good pull a colony count out of the air, or trust on the adjuster to determine fairly recompense for your injuries, lost wages, and annoyance and suffer. When you ’ ve fully recovered from relatively balmy injuries you can calculate a fair settlement for your injuries .
minor injury settlements don ’ t have to be complicated. Add up the entire come of all your checkup bills, physical therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses for things like medicines, crutches, and relate costs like mileage and park fees for your medical treatment, and your lost wages .
You are perfectly justified in requesting a reasonable sum of money for your pain and digest and trouble caused by the accident. Settlements for minor injury claims typically include an sum for annoyance and suffer that ’ mho one-and-a-half to three times the total aesculapian costs .
Your demand for pain and suffering compensation should be in proportion to the setting of your injuries. You won ’ t be taken seriously if you ask for a hundred thousand dollars in pain and suffer for a twist wrist that kept you out of study for three days .
Mistake 8: Ignoring Your Medical Records
The adjuster will go over your medical records with a fine-toothed comb. It ’ s a set to read, but make surely you read and understand everything that ’ south in your doctor ’ second notes and treatment records. You need to be able to defend the nature of your injuries, why your doctor prescribed treatments, and why you needed to be off work .
Don ’ t fair say, “ I have whiplash. ” This can be a bolshevik flag for claims adjusters. Although whip can be identical afflictive, don ’ t citation it before you ’ ve been diagnosed by a doctor. Adjusters sometimes even challenge medically-diagnosed whiplash, so claiming it without medical proof will about constantly be challenged .
Avoid exaggerating. Claims adjusters hear all kinds of stories, and they can normally tell when person is padding the truth. If you exaggerate at all, you ’ ll have to remember it each clock time you speak with the adjuster. That ’ s not entirely inappropriate, it ’ south hard work ! Tell the heterosexual truth, it will speak for itself .
Mistake 9: Discussing Prior Injuries
Don ’ metric ton discuss any preexistent injuries. You can set back your claim by admitting you have a anterior injury excessively soon in the claims work. If you tell the adjuster about it, they ’ ll be promptly to say your latest injury is just an aggravation of your previous one. You need a doctor to evaluate how one injury is related to the other .
When talking to your doctor, be sure to distinguish how your current symptoms are bad or different than with your anterior injury .
It ’ s not uncommon for x-rays or scans to reveal age-related conditions, like degenerative disk disease, that you didn ’ thymine know you had. It ’ mho important to make clear that you did not have any pain or limitations before the accident .
Mistake 10: Revealing Family Issues
Don ’ metric ton share that you are going through a divorce or don ’ t have the money to pay your bills. Be careful if holidays are approaching. The adjuster will assume you need money for holiday gifts .
never let on that you would like to get your claim settled by a certain date, like a planned family vacation or your daughter ’ s marriage. The adjuster will never come off a low extend if they think you ’ ll take what you can get fair to meet your “ deadline. ”
Don ’ t give the adjuster names of family, friends, or work references. The adjuster doesn ’ thymine need that data to settle a personal injury claim. You don ’ metric ton want the adjuster hassling your friends or family, or speaking with person who might imply you ’ ra dishonest .
Of course, liaison information for witnesses is fair game .
Mistake 11: Negotiating Against Yourself
There will be several rounds of offers and counteroffers during negotiations. Don ’ t make the mistake of trying to negotiate up from the adjuster ’ randomness last offer. Always counter a low offer by coming slenderly down from your last counter-offer. You can use a negotiations worksheet to keep cut of each round .
If you ’ ve made a counter-offer, and haven ’ thymine heard back from the adjuster for a few days, be patient. Don ’ t call back to make a lower offer if the adjuster hasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate responded to your last extend .
If a week or two goes by, you can contact the adjuster to say you are still awaiting a response. Adjusters handle dozens of claims on any given day, so they may have lost track of yours .
If exceptionally retentive delays continue to occur between rounds of negotiations, or the adjuster won ’ t return calls, it may be time to consult a cable car accident lawyer. The indemnity adjuster may be using bad religion claims handling practices .
Mistake 12: Jumping the Gun
Don ’ thymine rush to call the adjuster after you ’ ve made a counter crack. They ’ ll represent that to mean you ’ re getting desperate .
Don ’ t induce to fill in silent pauses during telephone negotiations. Wait .
Take time to think before you speak. It ’ s okay to pause before speaking and choose your words cautiously. Answer plainly, without excessively much elaborateness, then stop talking .
You don ’ t have to rush to answer every motion. If you don ’ t know the answer to a question, accept you don ’ t know or can ’ t remember. You can constantly get the information late. It ’ randomness much better to say you can ’ t recall an important contingent than to give the improper information .
Mistake 13: Losing Your Temper
policy adjusters have unlike tactics and styles. Some adjusters are odoriferous and try to lull you into confiding in them. Others are hardheaded and can be absolute diss, saying things like, “ I ’ thousand not paying for three weeks of lost wages, good because you wanted a barren vacation. ”
If you begin shouting or cursing, you entirely give that objectionable adjuster the advantage. Take a minute to calm yourself, then speak in a even tone of voice, “ Mr. Smith, if you ’ ll take a search at the doctor of the church ’ second notes from May 10, you ’ ll see the orthopedic surgeon said I could avoid knee surgery if I stayed off that branch for three weeks. It was not a fun time for me. I not only had to miss working at my construction job, I couldn ’ thyroxine coach my son ’ s baseball team, mow the lawn, or participate in family activities. ”
By staying calm, you ’ ll not only maintain a solid negotiate position, you ’ ll show the adjuster you ’ d expect estimable in movement of a jury if your subject ends up in court. Most adjusters would rather offer more to settle than gamble a big jury award in your party favor .
Mistake 14: Refusing to Compromise
Attorneys and other professional negotiators understand that both sides need to compromise to reach an agreement .
Know your “ bottomland line ” before beginning negotiations, but don ’ triiodothyronine reveal that amount to the adjuster. If the adjuster won ’ t come off a lowball offer that won ’ triiodothyronine cover your losses, be prepared to hire a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf .
On the other hand, it ’ randomness crucial to understand that you won ’ thymine walk away with the wax amount of recompense in your demand letter. Take into consideration what it will cost to hire an lawyer and pay litigation expenses if you refuse a lower colony offer .
Mistake 15: Signing Agreements You Don’t Understand
carefully review the liquidation agreement to be sure the dollar amounts and terms match the final examination village you agreed to with the adjuster. Be certain the agreement doesn ’ thymine include your property damage claim, unless that ’ s part of what you negotiated .
The agreement will be a “ compromised colony agreement ” and may express that the guarantee and their insurance company are not admitting blame for the collision. Most agreements besides include a release of indebtedness, meaning you can not go after the other driver any time in the future for losses in connection with the accident .
Most indemnity companies include a “ confidentiality clause ” in car accident settlement agreements that prohibits you from discussing how much compensation you get. You could be sued for breach of contract if you disclose your colonization sum to anyone, including on sociable media .
never sign a release and village agreement that you haven ’ thymine read and fully understand. Once you sign an agreement, there ’ s no going back. The release and settlement agreement is a legally binding document .
Mistake 16: Missing Ominous Warning Signs
Accusations of Comparative Negligence. Claims become complicated if there ’ s any question of shared fault for the accident. The insurance adjuster will argue that you plowshare some of the blame for the accident and may even try to get you to admit some fault .
Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be manipulated into making admissions of shared fault in reaction to catchy questions from the adjuster, such as, “ Could you have been distracted by your baby in the back seat ? ” or “ It ’ s harder to see at night at our age, international relations and security network ’ t it ? ”
The adjuster knows that in states with conducive negligence or relative negligence laws, if you ’ re partially to blame for the accident, your colony can be drastically reduced, or you could end up without a dime.
Looming Statute of Limitations. Every state has a codified of limitations for car accident injury claims. If you haven ’ metric ton settled your claim or filed a lawsuit before the codified runs out, you forfeit your right to any compensation for your injuries .
It ’ s up to you to know the legislative act of limitations for your claim. The adjuster does not have a legal debt instrument to warn you when the statutory deadline is looming. Nor does the car policy company have to help you settle your accident claim in fourth dimension .
Assurances You Don’t Need an Attorney. When the adjuster says you don ’ t need a personal wound lawyer, be on precaution. When you ’ ve been badly injured in a motive vehicle accident you ’ ll need legal advice from an experience lawyer .
Severe, potentially permanent injuries like principal trauma, spinal anesthesia cord injuries, facial scar, or injuries that require hospitalization insurance and a long recovery are high-dollar claims .
Don ’ thyroxine believe the insurance company to look after your best interest, specially if the adjuster says you won ’ t need an lawyer. Most car accident lawyers offer a free consultation to accident victims. It costs nothing to get a professional evaluation of your insurance claim .
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Charles R. Gueli, Esq. is a personal injury lawyer with over 20 years of legal have. He ’ sulfur admitted to the NY State Bar, and been named a Super Lawyer for the NY Metro area, an exclusive honor awarded to the exceed five percentage of attorneys. Charles has worked extensively in the areas of car accidents, … Read More > >
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