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What should you watch for when an insurance company offers a settlement?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2022 | Car Accidents

In Indiana, if you are injured in a car crash because another driver was negligent, seek medical attention at once, and then – as quickly as possible – schedule a consultation to discuss your rights and your legal options with an Indiana car accident attorney.

Indiana is an at-fault auto insurance state. This means that if you are involved in a traffic crash, the at-fault driver (or in most cases, that driver’s auto insurance company) is obligated to pay for the injuries suffered and the property damage sustained by any other party in the accident.

How do you negotiate a settlement with a car insurance company? When should you accept or reject a company’s settlement offer? Is negotiating on your own the best way to deal with a car insurance company? If you’ll keep reading, you will learn some of the answers you may need.

What is the First Rule of Negotiating With Insurance Companies?

After a traffic accident, make copies of your accident-related receipts, medical bills, and other documents. You will have to complete some forms and file an injury claim, accompanied by copies of the pertinent documents, with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.

If you choose to submit your injury claim to that insurance company without the help of an Indiana traffic accident lawyer, you must be prepared to negotiate. Decide on a fair settlement amount, and then decide what is the lowest figure that you can reasonably accept.

You may expect that an insurance company’s initial settlement offer will be a “lowball” offer that’s unreasonably low. Insurance companies make these low offers because some people take them. Rule One of negotiating with insurance companies is that you do not accept the first offer.

You should send the company a written response to and rejection of the first settlement offer. Demand from the company an explanation of the low offer, and remind the company that you have documentation that supports your claim for a more reasonable settlement.

What Should You Provide When You Negotiate an Injury Claim?

You must make sure that the insurance company has copies of all the medical bills, tests results, pharmacy receipts, and other documentation of your claim. You may speak several times with a claims adjuster before an agreement is final. Do not feel intimidated, hurried, or pressured.

Having comprehensive documentation of your losses and damages is the best way to strengthen your injury claim. If an insurance company makes a low settlement offer, be sure the company has all of the evidence about the extent and the severity of your personal injury or injuries.

However, if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in your negotiations, or if there is a dispute regarding fault for the accident, you’ll need a lawyer to take the case to court for you, although a judge may then refer the case to mediation for a last try at an out-of-court resolution.

Is There a Better Way to Deal With an Insurance Company?

It is important to remember that the claims adjuster assigned to your case isn’t your friend. The claims adjuster is working for the insurance company. On the other hand, most claims adjusters are hard-working professionals who are dedicated to settling claims quickly and honestly.

Nevertheless, during your negotiations, if you believe that the adjuster or the auto insurance company is being dismissive of you, disingenuous, or negligent – or is simply not acting in good faith – you should schedule a consultation immediately with an Indiana car accident attorney.

In fact, if you’ve been injured in a traffic accident because the other driver was negligent, the best strategy is to have a personal injury attorney advise and represent you – and negotiate on your behalf – from the start.

How Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

A good personal injury lawyer will review the evidence and interview the witnesses on your behalf. Your lawyer will investigate how the collision happened, learn how your injury occurred, identify any party with liability, and negotiate for the settlement amount you need and deserve.

An Indiana personal injury attorney is an experienced negotiator who understands how insurance companies negotiate and who knows how to win the settlement you need.

If you are contacted for any reason by the other driver’s lawyer or insurance company, you can refer any inquiries about your case to your personal injury attorney and focus instead on healing and recovering from your injuries.

What is the Real Cost of Hiring an Attorney?

When someone negotiates an injury claim without an attorney’s help, that person may believe that he or she can’t afford to pay for a lawyer’s advice and services. That belief is wrong. Personal injury lawyers in the State of Indiana work for their clients on a contingent fee basis.

This means that you pay no lawyer’s fee upfront or until and unless your lawyer recovers your compensation with a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict. If you are not compensated at the end of the personal injury process for any reason, you do not pay for your lawyer’s services.

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, your first consultation with a personal injury attorney is offered without cost or obligation. Take advantage of this opportunity to receive personalized legal advice and to learn more about how the law applies to your own case.

When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?

Indiana’s statute of limitations – the deadline for filing a personal injury claim arising from a traffic accident – is two years from the date that the accident happened, but you shouldn’t wait two years or even two weeks to schedule a meeting with an Indiana traffic accident lawyer.

If you have missed that two-year deadline, go ahead and consult an attorney, because your case may qualify under one of the limited exceptions to the deadline. However, if you were recently injured, now is the time to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney.

It is important to act quickly. Your attorney should have the chance to review evidence before it deteriorates or disappears, and your attorney also needs to obtain statements from any witnesses while their memories are still fresh. The sooner you can meet with an injury attorney, the better.

If you have been injured in a traffic crash, and especially if your injury is preventing you from returning to work, you can’t afford to wait. If you and your lawyer can prove you were injured because another driver was negligent, you will be compensated, and the law will be on your side.