How Do I Negotiate a Settlement with the Insurance Adjuster?
Reaching a fair settlement agreement with an insurance provider involves a lengthy process of negotiation. The dollar value at stake is high in a personal injury claim, but the essential principles of negotiation are still present.
New Jersey Settlement Negotiation Process
During any negotiation, there are three key pieces of information:
- The general value range of the settlement.
- The minimum figure that the plaintiff will accept.
- The maximum amount the insurance company is willing to concede.
When your attorney is attempting to reach a fair settlement agreement for your personal injury, they will take on the role of the “seller,” the insurance adjuster will take on the role of the “buyer,” and the “product” will represent your damages resulting from the accident.
Each involved party in the negotiation understands only two of those three key pieces of information; your lawyer knows the general value of your claim and the minimum figure that will be recommended to the plaintiff, and the adjuster understands the general value of your damages and the highest figure that the insurance provider is willing to offer you before risking going to court.
Both your lawyer and the insurance adjuster are missing an important piece of the data, and the negotiation process largely involves testing one another in order to tease out one piece of essential information — how little are you willing to accept, or how much can you persuade them to give?
Steps to the Injury Claim Negotiation Process
The process of testing the waters may not take longer than just a few telephone calls, but in some cases, it can drag on for months or even years without reaching a resolution. A usual settlement negotiation may follow these stages:
- Your lawyer calculates the general value of your losses and chooses a sum at the high end of that range, leaving room to negotiate downward while still allowing you to obtain reasonable compensation. Your lawyer could send the insurance adjuster a written demand letter including that high-end figure, or much commonly, it is expressed during a telephone conversation.
- The insurance adjuster responds to the demand, whether by letter or phone call, by pointing out any real or perceived weaknesses in your case, such as disputed issues of fault, “excessive” medical treatment supposedly not justified by your diagnosis, and the recovery achieved after the medical treatment.
- Your lawyers will then address these objections.
- The insurance adjuster makes an offer, often an extremely low and unreasonable figure, to gauge how impatient you are to obtain compensated for your injuries, regardless of how insufficient it may be. Many lawyers refer to this as “bottom fishing.”
- Your lawyer will then adjust the demand figure slightly downward to show a willingness to negotiate within reason.
- The insurance adjuster will then raise his offer.
- This process will continue back-and-forth between your lawyer and the insurance adjuster until the offer enters into the range set by you and your attorney. Your lawyer will only be allowed to accept an offer with your informed consent.
How an individual proceeds with their claim through these steps will be determined by the circumstances of the case, the level of preparedness and organization of the injured party and their lawyer, and how quickly you are looking to settle.
The New Jersey negotiation process will usually start quickly after the insurance company receives your claim. There is no normal here, but your lawyer should receive many phone calls from the insurance adjuster with a week or two of the claim being sent. Cases that need more investigation or consultation with the insured party are usually longer than simpler claims, and delays may also occur if the insurance adjuster has a heavy workload. If you do not receive a response within two weeks, your lawyer will likely contact the insurance provider’s claims department and ask the adjuster for a hard deadline date by which they must respond. If the insurance adjuster misses this deadline, a firm reminder of their commitment should be issued. In worst-case scenarios, an appeal to their supervisor can be made if they do not respond promptly.
Recovering Compensation for Injuries
Even when the legal duty is honored in the breach, the insurance provider is still obligated to examine your claim fairly and negotiation with your New Jersey personal injury lawyer according to its legal merits, but many insurance providers will overload their employees with work — to the point where only the most severe cases or the cases that are about to go to court are evaluated. Of course, the larger the demand for compensation, the higher the level of authority must be reached to reach a settlement. It is a complex process in certain cases, and this is why a qualified personal injury attorney in New Jersey is best to handle the negotiation process for all the simplest claims.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious crash in New Jersey, please contact Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC to discuss your case during a free consultation.
New Jersey Car Accidents
Car accidents are the leading contributor to death and serious injuries in the United States, with more people dying each year. Even in non-fatal crashes, the resulting injuries can be life-changing, causing victims to be saddled with expensive medical bills while being unable to return to work to cover the costs. Making sure you get the compensation that you need to make a full recovery after a serious New Jersey car accident is critical.
If injured victims think a reckless driver is responsible for their injuries, they should consult with a New Jersey auto accident lawyer immediately. Brady, Brady & Reilly, LLC has helped countless victims obtain fair settlements after being injured in a New Jersey car accident. Contact our law offices today at (201) 997- 0030 to see how we can help.