Should I Negotiate My Accident Claim With the Insurance Company?
You’ve been injured in a vehicle accident and want your bills paid and compensation for your injuries. You want a reasonable settlement, but you don’t want to wait too long. Should you negotiate with your insurance company after an accident? It depends on the accident and your injuries.
Callaway & Wolf have represented vehicle accident victims for more than 20 years. We not only know accident law but insurance law and how insurance companies work. If you’re involved in an accident, call us at 415-541-0300 for a free, no-obligation consultation. If we think you could handle the claim on your own, we’ll let you know. If we believe you should get some help, we’ll tell you why and how we can assist you.
Sometimes You Need Help, Sometimes You Don’t
There are thousands of vehicle accidents in California every year. Attorneys aren’t needed to resolve claims in every one. But we provide critical help in cases where we represent injured drivers and passengers. What you don’t know about negligence law and insurance companies really can hurt you if you’ve suffered a severe injury.
If there’s only vehicle damage, you probably won’t need an attorney to help. If you’ve suffered minor bruises or strains, you may or may not need legal assistance. Get a complete exam from your physician. You must find out if they’re your only injuries. If you sign an insurance company release, your claim ends. If you later discover another injury, it’s too late because you have no right to seek compensation.
The more severe your injury, the more you need legal help. If you’re not sure what to do, call us. Given our experience, we can tell you about the claims process and what to expect. If we think you need help, there are very good reasons why. Here are two of them.
You Don’t Know How to Negotiate
In some countries, people negotiate every day. They haggle over the price of nearly everything they buy. The US isn’t like that. Other than asking for a pay raise or buying a car, most Americans don’t negotiate anything. It’s a skill you develop with education and practice.
We negotiate with insurance companies every day because it’s a major part of what we do. We know what information insurance companies want, the issues they look at, and why they make decisions. Our attorneys put together the facts of a case and present them to the insurance company along with a settlement demand. We negotiate back and forth, and nearly all our cases settle at some point. We know what it takes to get the most for our clients.
If you negotiate your case, you’ll probably interact with a claims adjuster. That person also negotiates claims every day with lawyers and people like you. The adjuster is probably much better than you at negotiation and will take advantage of your weakness. Adjusters work for the insurance company, not you, and the faster and the lower the settlement, the better they look to their bosses.
You Don’t Know the Value of Your Case
What’s a fair settlement for your case? If you don’t know, you’re not negotiating. You’re just having a conversation and discussing numbers to see what happens.
You could tell the adjuster to make an offer and try to get them to raise it. But since you don’t know if that figure is fair or not, you’re at a critical disadvantage. Your case’s value may be tens of thousands of dollars more. But if you get the adjuster to add a couple thousand dollars, you’d probably feel like you did a great job at striking a good bargain.
If you make a demand, your figure may be far less or much more than your case’s value. If it’s less, the insurance carrier will be happy to settle with you. If it’s a lot more, they won’t take you seriously. They’ll wait you out until you lower your demand. You could threaten to file a lawsuit, but until an attorney represents you, that threat doesn’t mean anything.
We will know what your case is worth. We will work with the insurance company and provide them the evidence they need to justify a fair settlement. Most of the time, insurance companies understand the situation and will eventually agree to a reasonable resolution. If they won’t, we will litigate your case until they change their position or until a jury decides the issue for them.
Get the Help You Need from Attorneys You Can Trust
If you’re injured due to another person’s negligence, the lawyers at Callaway & Wolf can help. A consultation will be free, and we work on a contingency fee basis. Call us today at 415-541-0300 and schedule an appointment at our San Francisco or Oakland office to learn more about how our experienced attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Boone Callaway is a personal injury & medical malpractice lawyer in San Francisco who has been working with clients in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Mr. Callaway is one of only a few personal injury litigators in San Francisco who is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated and is also a member of ABOTA – American Board of Trial Advocates.