After an accident, it takes more than just filing a claim to get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Once your damages are added up, it’s time to negotiate a settlement, and insurance companies are not going to willingly hand over what you ask for. It can be a long road to reach a settlement.
We’ve written a longer article discussing how to reach a settlement, but here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
First thing’s first: collect as much information about your accident as possible. This includes medical records, police reports, witness statements, etc. This will help determine how much compensation you may be due.
You should wait to file your claim until you have a complete understanding of your total losses. Failing to do so can cause some of your expenses to go uncompensated for.
Submit your demand letter
Once you know the full extent of your demands, it’s time to write a demand letter to the guilty party’s insurance company. This letter should include the details of your accident and why you believe you deserve a certain amount of compensation. Be sure to back up your demands with facts from your case.
You will likely not be happy with the insurance company’s first offer. If this is the case, you have the right to negotiate until both parties reach a fair amount. Remember to stand your ground and be patient during the negotiation process. It can take time, but a settlement is usually reached in this way.
Settle another way
If you and the defendant’s insurance company simply cannot reach a fair settlement, you have a few options.
Hiring a mediator or arbitrator to guide the negotiation process is a way to get help settling without having to go to court (costing more money and time). However, if you still cannot reach a fair settlement, going to court may be your best option. There, a judge will decide how much you are due and order the insurance company to pay.