Strategies for Dealing with Insurance Companies in a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have been seriously injured in an accident due to another person’s negligence, you should have no qualms about seeking the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Some injury victims feel guilty about taking legal action in these situations, especially if the at-fault party was elderly or just plain nice. However, it’s important to remember that you are not filing the claim against that person — you will most likely deal with an insurance company.
Before you file your claim, make sure it meets the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. You have two years from the date of injury or from the reasonable discovery of the injury to file the claim. Below are some tips for dealing with insurance companies:
- Have an ideal settlement figure: You can work with your personal injury attorney to get an idea of what your case is worth. Based on that, you can come up with an ideal settlement amount. Do not share this with the insurance company — it’s for your own purposes during negotiations. You should keep this figure in mind at all times and leave a little room to negotiate.
- Don’t automatically accept a first offer: It’s rare for an injury victim to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company from the start. An insurance adjuster might make a low offer to gauge your knowledge of the situation. If that offer is reasonable, you can still make a counteroffer that is a little higher, but still lower than the figure you included in your demand letter.
- Get justifications for lowball offers: If the adjuster makes an obviously lowball offer, ask for a justification for it in writing. Then, you can return a letter rebutting each of the factors mentioned, which will allow you to better argue for a higher settlement.
- Always get the settlement in writing: This should go without saying, but any agreements you make with an insurance adjuster should be in writing and signed by all parties involved.