Understanding the Insurance Settlement Negotiation Process
While it is difficult to remain calm and rational at the scene of an accident, cooler heads usually prevail as the dust begins to settle. Within a few days after an accident, drivers and their insurance companies generally begin the negotiation process. Depending on the specific details of an accident, this could be a cumbersome and somewhat lengthy process.
What to Expect
It is important to understand the role of an insurance adjuster and to know how to present a case during the settlement negotiation process.
Expect an initial phone call from the insurance company. The first call should only come from the carrier covering the insured vehicle. The purpose of this call is to determine the nature of any injuries and be sure that appropriate medical treatment is sought. Then, the insurance company representative will discuss next steps.
Next steps may include:
- Confirming coverage levels
- Arranging for temporary rental transportation
- Recommending a repair center
- Assigning a claims adjuster
- Providing contact information and claim number
The driver is not responsible for negotiating with the insurance company on their own behalf. Likewise, the driver is not qualified to determine the cause of an accident. Drivers simply make their statement, usually recorded, to the insurance adjuster. A qualified legal representative can assist with these important steps in the negotiation phase.
Responsible Parties and the Negotiation Process
Most states require drivers to maintain adequate insurance to cover the full value of a vehicle under lien and personal insurance protection (PIP) to cover damage in cases where neither driver is considered to be at fault. Auto insurance coverage requirements vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another as do the laws governing traffic accidents.
Federal and state laws are important to the negotiation process, as underwriters and actuaries spend time evaluating different types of accidents. Some accidents, like being rear-ended at a traffic light, make it easy to assign fault. Others can be more difficult. Accidents are reviewed based on general and extenuating circumstances during settlement negotiations.
In cases where no official police report is filed, or the fault of the accident has not been determined, an insurance company may resist making payment for damage to personal property or medical bills. Drivers who experience financial strain, loss of transportation, or other pain and suffering may need help when they negotiate with insurance companies. Someone who fully understands the pertinent laws and processes can assist in these difficult circumstances.
Negotiating a Settlement
An experienced personal injury attorney is capable of reviewing the details of an accident and preparing for a negotiation with the insurance provider. Most drivers are not aware of their general rights or what compensation they should expect after being injured in an automobile accident. While no one is prepared for an accident, everyone should have a plan of action and know where to find a personal injury attorney to get the proper support.
In many cases, the injured party is left to suffer on their own because they are not sure how to proceed. Car insurance companies often deny a claim based on incomplete information or some other technicality. As a result, injured drivers must use their own medical insurance to cover their ongoing treatment. Without an understanding of personal injury law, these accident victims may not even recover enough of an insurance settlement to cover the damages to their vehicle, and often, medical insurance doesn’t cover treatment for all of the injuries sustained or their lasting effects.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you are not alone. Navigating the system and getting back on your feet takes time. Medical treatment, physical therapy, and countless phone calls to the insurance company can be overwhelming. Rebemack Aronow & Mascolo, L.L.P. (RAM Law) is here to help.
Our collective decades of experience serving New Brunswick and other cities throughout New Jersey have helped countless accident victims recoup their losses. Contact us today at (732) 247-3600 for a no-obligation consultation.