The Art of Negotiating Your Claim

Are you negotiating from a position of strength or weakness? What does the insurance company know about you that you have inadvertently provided to them through a statement or medical authorization? Have you done your homework to establish fault? Have your doctors done a good job of fully documenting your injuries? Did you get better in a week, a month, or a year? Have you read your own medical records? Has your doctor clearly spelled out your injuries and any residual problems you may be experiencing? Have you researched the value of your claim among recent arbitration awards and jury verdicts in the County where the accident occurred? If you have done all of this then you may be ready to start the negotiation process. However, remember reasonable minds may still differ and it may not be a slam dunk even when you are prepared.

Here are a couple of thoughts to keep in mind. Start the negotiation conversation at a number that is higher then what you think the value of the claim might be. Claims adjusters typically will make more than one offer and you'll be required to make counteroffers. Be sure to remember that you may be responsible to coordinate all the repayment of other insurance benefits available to you and that the settlement Release likely will have hold harmless language in it that requires you to indemnify the accident insurance company if you do not. (For more information on this topic please see our discussion about Pitfalls to Watch.) If you can't resolve the claim, your ultimate recourse is to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident and let a judge or jury decide the value of the claim.

The legwork that needs to be done to successfully prepare and negotiate an accident claim can be overwhelming. If you would like help, please telephone us at 602.424.5547 or complete our online contact form.