Negotiating With An Insurance Adjuster After A Georgia Car Accident: Useful Ideas
Negotiating an insurance claim after a car accident can be onerous, even if you have energy and a desire for justice. Deploy the following strategies to protect your claim:
Determine a Minimum — But Don’t Share It
Work out an acceptable minimum settlement, but do not reveal that figure to your adjuster. This tactic will prevent you from taking an offer you later regret, especially if the adjuster opts for a “take it or leave it” approach.
Ask for Justification
If your insurance adjuster comes back with a lowball offer, demand to understand the reasoning behind the decision. Probe, and get specific. Why did the insurance company reject evidence of your low back injury? Why wasn’t more credence given to a key witness’s account? Etc. If you disagree with the offered explanations, draft a letter addressing each of your adjuster’s concerns and why you think they don’t invalidate your claim.
Maintain a Journalistic, Fact-Based Tone
It’s only natural to feel distressed after a car accident, but work hard to be concrete when describing the crash. Likewise, be specific when articulating the nature, duration and intensity of your suffering. Use language like “Bleeding and contusions forced me to spend eight days in the hospital…” instead of language like “the accident knocked me out and made me feel terrible…” Inexact language, however well intentioned, can be used to diminish your claim.
Carefully Use “Non-Damaging Admissions”
Your insurance adjuster knows that you’re not perfect, and he or she may actually be more willing to work with you if you admit as much.
In negotiating parlance, a “non-damaging” admission is one that doesn’t have substantive bearing on the issue under consideration. For instance, let’s say two toddlers are arguing. Who knocked over an ice cream cone? One child admits to shoving the other after the ice cream hit the dirt. Whether or not he shoved doesn’t matter to the question of who knocked over the ice cream. But the toddler who admits to the shoving might come across as more honest for admitting to a flawed behavior.
In a similar way, disclosing certain less-than-flattering information about the accident or what you did afterwards can demonstrate to the adjuster that you negotiate in good faith.
However, you must take great care when discussing any details about your accident with an insurance company representative, particularly details that imply that you erred or contributed to the crash. Instead, leave this subtle work to a qualified Georgia car accident attorney who has years of experience negotiating successfully with insurers on behalf of victims.
Contact Smith, Wallis & Scott, LLP today to schedule a private consultation; we can help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.