When you’re in a car accident, and it was not your fault, you should hire a legal specialist to advise you regarding your personal injury or property claims. In most cases, the other party’s car insurance company will offer you a settlement, but it’s crucial that you work with your lawyer to determine the best approach for settling your claim. Our team has decades of experience in setting claims with car insurance representatives, and in this post, we’re highlighting our tips for settling car insurance claims in South Carolina.
Ensure You’re Prepared with Evidence
One of the first questions your lawyer will ask you when you detail your claim to them is “Do you have any evidence of the incident taking place?” The more evidence you have available to you in settling your car insurance claim, the higher your chances of the claim being settled in your favor. When documenting your case for the car insurance company, make sure you prepare the following documents for review:
Photographs of the Accident
You might not have any due to being in shock at the time of the incident, but any photographs or footage from the event will be very useful in helping improve your claim to injury and vehicle damages.
List of Vehicle Damage
Ensure that your mechanic provides you with a list of the required repairs for your vehicle. The insurance company will use this list to help determine the assessed damages.
Doctor’s Guidance on Medical Expenses
If you have incurred any medical expenses as a result of the accident, ensure that your doctor provides you with a list of the treatments and the costs involved.
A Copy of the Police Report
The police report from the day of the event should be provided to your lawyer for their review when building your settlement case. The police report will include information from witnesses as well as details about the condition of the vehicle and any statements provided by the parties involved at the time.
Learn How Insurance Companies Will Fight Back
When negotiating with insurance companies and speaking with your attorney, you should learn more about how insurance companies operate when fighting a claim. One of the most common claims for insurance companies to make is to suggest the person making a claim was somehow at fault for the accident. They will say they cannot compensate you because you made an error that caused the damage.
They might also question the authenticity of your documentation, suggesting that you somehow are misrepresenting the information provided. That is the reason it’s so important to ensure that your documentation is expertly-reviewed before it’s submitted to the insurance company. Your attorney for car insurance claims can help to guide you through the review process and may contact other legal experts who can help authenticate your car accident claims and back up the data.
The insurance company might also suggest that the value you are placing on your vehicle or your injury is too high and doesn’t warrant the settlement. This technique is used to make you question the total value of your loss and to force you to lower your demands. A qualified lawyer will have experience countering this technique and will ensure that you hold firm in your settlement demands.
The Negotiation Process
Now that you know a little more about the techniques insurance companies will use to try to lower your claims, we come to the negotiation process. When you submit your documentation, you will provide the insurance company with an amount that you believe is fair considering the costs you’ve already incurred, as well as the pain and suffering related to the incident.
Your claims adjuster will review the evidence and learn about your complaint. They will then determine a settlement amount based on the information provided. You have two options at this time:
You Can Contest the Amount
If you contest the amount awarded by the claims adjuster, you can get back into contact with your insurance company with your own offer. In this case, the claims adjuster may make a counteroffer given your response.
You Can Agree and Reach a Settlement
If you agree with the amount offered, you can then discuss the settlement process with your lawyer, before finalizing the amount with your insurance company.
Keep the Following in Mind During Negotiations
If you choose to contest the amount offered by the claims adjuster, you will then enter into negotiations directly with the insurance company. Bear in mind, the following guidance:
Determine an Acceptable Minimum Amount
Choose the minimum amount that’s acceptable to you as a settlement. Don’t tell the adjuster, but make sure you have this amount in mind during negotiations.
It might be difficult given the pressure from your insurance company, but try to be flexible when discussing your claim. Your lawyer can help you determine the right time for compromise.
Showcase the Emotional Costs
When speaking with the adjuster about the settlement, make sure they have a full understanding of the emotional events that have taken place in your life as a result of the incident. It might be that you’re afraid to drive or that you cannot sleep well. Adding this information to the discussion can be beneficial in increasing the settlement figure.
Continually Ask Questions
If you feel the insurance adjuster is not providing you with the settlement you require, try to find out as much as possible about their process and why they keep lowballing you. That can help you reach out to the adjuster and help them see your perspective.
Settling a car insurance claim can become a stressful and challenging process if you don’t have qualified representation at your side. Make sure you’re working with a local car insurance lawyer with decades of experience in South Carolina personal injury claims.