The Insurance Information Institute found that Florida is one of the most expensive states for auto insurance, with an average expenditure of $1,414. This is the fifth most expensive state in the nation. However, negotiating your settlement after an auto accident can be tricky.
After an auto accident, you will have to determine how you will negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster. The adjuster may seem friendly and very willing to settle your claim as quickly as possible. But this should not fool you into believing that they are in your best interest.
Who Is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company tasked with the duty of investigating claims. The insurance adjuster will help determine the liability of an auto accident based on the nature of the claim that the insurance company is facing.
Having a personal injury lawyer at this point can help you collect evidence to determine liability. A lawyer often understands what evidence the insurance adjuster will want. An attorney can also advise on how you can show the at-fault party's negligence. To show negligence, you will have to illustrate that:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care
- The actions or inactions of the at-fault party amounted to a breach of duty
- The breach of duty directly caused your injuries or property damage
- There is evidence of bodily injury and property damage
The negotiation process may begin immediately if the adjuster finds that your claim has sufficient evidence in its favor. But that does not necessarily mean you will get fairly compensated, especially if you are negotiating alone. A personal injury lawyer can help you handle negotiations with the insurance adjuster. The lawyer can also ensure that you do not say anything that may jeopardize your claim.
How does the Negotiation Process Begin?
The negotiation process with the insurance adjuster may begin immediately after you file your claim. Once you have filed a claim with the liable party's insurer, their insurance adjuster may:
- Conduct interviews with any witnesses who were present at the scene
- Estimate the cost of your property damage
- Determine the cost of medical treatment
- Review the accident report and police report
An insurance adjuster may do all the above and more in a bid to lower the settlement you can receive. This is sometimes the case if you are making a third-party claim. A claim against your insurer may get handled more fairly. Since Florida is a no-fault state, you are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This means that your insurance is responsible for covering the cost of your injuries following an auto accident.
Before filing your claim, you want to ensure you have prepared all pertinent information regarding the case. For instance, keep medical records and receipts to show the cost of injury.
Record keeping after an auto accident is something injured parties often overlook.
However, a car accident lawyer can help you consolidate your records before filing your claim. The documents you gather will act as evidence during the claim process. Furthermore, a lawyer can also help you determine the fair value of your claim.
Careful Considerations for Negotiating with an Insurance Claims Adjuster
The cost of damages may rise with time after an accident. Furthermore, the insurance claims adjuster may undervalue your claim even if they are from your insurer. For these reasons, it is important to carefully consider the initial offer for compensation.
What's more, you also want to ensure you understand your state's personal injury laws. For instance, the state of Florida has comparative negligence laws. This means that you can still get compensated, even if you are partially at fault.
Since you have a limited window of time to recover damages, an auto accident lawyer can help advise and guide you in your negotiations with an insurance adjuster.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The aftermath of an accident is quite stressful due to the damages you have suffered and injuries sustained. This should be a time for you to recover and not worry about insurance negotiations. However, a personal injury lawyer can help you handle the negotiation process.
Call the Dolman Law Group for a case consultation!