Negotiating with an insurance company is no easy task. Insurance companies are basically business organizations who will try to make as much profit as possible.
They never have your best interests at heart. Given below are the tips to help you negotiate a truck accident settlement with an insurance company.
1. Seek The Help Of A Lawyer
In severe truck accident cases where thousands of dollars are involved, it is highly recommended to consult a truck accident attorney in New York who is familiar with the changing law system to help you get the maximum compensation for the loss.
If you are unsure about your rights or the value of your settlement offer, your lawyer can help you with the process.
There is no guarantee your insurance company will match your claim so you might have to file a court case. The semi truck accident attorneys at Munley can help represent you in this situation.
2. Be Careful With Your Words
The first thing you should realize is that the insurance company will do anything to hold back money from you. Even a small slip of the tongue can be recorded and used against you.
Maintain a professional conversation with your insurance adjuster and avoid getting too friendly or chatty.
The adjustor might even try to change the subject or get you to admit fault since he is trained to lower the settlement as much as he can. You should also refrain from offering your personal opinions about the accident.
3. Don’t Wait Too Long To Initiate Your Claim
You should initiate your claim as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of the accident.
Many insurance companies have time limits after which all claims are dismissed. This can vary from 1-7 days depending upon the company.
The sooner you report your accident claim, the sooner you can receive compensation for medical treatment and repairs for truck damage. If you delay the process the insurance company will use your late claim to their advantage.
4. Compile All The Necessary Documents And Evidence
In order to validate your insurance claim there are certain documents you have to submit.
This will include your commercial driving license, copy of your insurance policy and registration certificate of your truck.
You might also need to provide a copy of the FIR filed with the police. Make sure you collect medical records and receipts of medicine and repair expenses.
Your insurance company will thoroughly examine them to determine the authenticity of your claim.
5. Know The Value Of Your Settlement
You must at least have a rough estimate of your claim before you start negotiation. Your settlement amount must take into account the following expenses,
Medical expenses including the cost of future treatment.
Property damage expenses including repair and replacement costs.
Lost wages if you cannot go to work because of injury.
It is advisable to ask for 20% more than this settlement amount since the insurance company will lower it anyway.
If you are unable to determine a proper settlement amount, get the help of a lawyer.
6. Don’t Waste Time On Unnecessary Details
Make sure your demand letter is clear, precise and to the point. Don’t ramble about your feelings or offer unsolicited opinions about the accident.
State the facts clearly and list out relevant information like the location of the accident, time, expenses and personal information like your name and phone number.
Never include unnecessary information like your social security number or contact numbers of friends and family. Don’t lie or exaggerate because if the company finds out the truth, it can really hurt your claim.
7. Never Accept The First Settlement Offer
The settlement process will not be easy because the insurance company will try their level best to lower your claim.
Insurance companies always start their negotiation from the lowest offer so be patient and try to work your way up.
Most of the time your insurance adjuster will make an extremely low settlement offer to check whether you know the full value of your claim.
It is always recommended to hire a lawyer who can help you in the negotiation process.
Although matching your accident settlement offer is hard, it is definitely not impossible to come close to it. Be familiar with the way insurance companies work and be careful with what you say during the claim process. If necessary seek professional help.