It’s a question that most people ask when filing a claim with an insurance company. Whether you were involved in a car accident, slipped on a floor, or injured yourself while working, negotiating your settlement amount is crucial to secure the fairest compensation possible.
Yes. You can negotiate for your injury settlement.
The negotiation process can be tricky and most likely needs the help of a personal injury lawyer in Minnesota. Suppose you’re looking for the best ways to negotiate with the insurance company. How exactly can you get a just settlement from them? After all, you don’t want to be lowballed by their claims adjuster.
We’ve outlined all the steps you need to take to get the compensation you deserve. On top of that, we’ll also share all the things you need to keep in mind when negotiating with your claims adjuster.
Steps in the Negotiation Process
You decided to brave your way into negotiating with your claims adjuster. They’re the people responsible for investigating and calculating your settlement amounts. They will conduct interviews, inspect the damages, and review your records. Afterward, the adjuster will file a damage report detailing the total financial liability and how much of these damages are eligible for insurance coverage.
Most likely, you won’t agree to this amount and decide to negotiate with the adjuster. Here are the steps to do that:
File an Insurance Claim
Of course, the first step for negotiation is filing an insurance claim. You should know where to file your claim and how.
For instance, you may have been involved in a vehicular accident. Since Minnesota is a no-fault state, you should file your insurance claim with your own insurance company. This rule applies regardless of who caused the accident. However, suppose you were injured on business property, such as slipping or falling. In that case, you can file a claim against that business property’s insurance company.
Keep in mind that the insurance company will always try to minimize your compensation amount. So, you should proceed to the following steps to ensure that this wouldn’t happen.
Prepare Your Records and Documents
Preparing and organizing relevant documents will ensure that you can defend yourself as you negotiate with your adjuster. These documents will serve as your evidence during the negotiation process. Here are some documents that you’ll need:
- Statements of witnesses
- Police reports
- Property damage quotes
- Photographs of injuries and property damages
- Medical bills and reports
Take note that these documents should be arranged in chronological order. You can use any type of file and document in the negotiation process as they can serve as validation and evidence for your claims. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the more likely you’ll get fair compensation.
Determine Your Minimum Settlement Amount
So, you filed your claim and prepared all the documents you needed. What next?
The third step is to know the minimum amount you should accept as compensation from your claims adjuster. You can calculate this amount using supporting documents and other factors such as:
- Medical bills
- Expenses related to the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Lost income and wages
You need to identify all the possible areas where you can attach a monetary value. This step is necessary, so you’ll have a clear idea of the calculations for your settlement. Of course, this is also helpful to prevent yourself from accepting any lowball offers from your claims adjuster. As a rule of thumb, anything that affected your income and money should be included in your calculations for your minimum settlement amount.
It’s important to remember that you should not settle for just the minimum settlement amount.
Send a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
The next step is to send a Demand Letter to your insurance company. A Demand Letter is a formal document that outlines all the damages inflicted by the accident. Moreover, it also “demands” just compensation to be given to you.
You can indicate your injuries, medical treatments you received, and other losses such as pain and suffering. Everything you identified in the third step should be outlined in your demand letter.
It’s important not to disclose your calculated minimum settlement amount. Just keep that figure in mind as you negotiate with your claims adjuster. Their compensation shouldn’t go lower than that amount.
Negotiate Your Injury Settlement
Finally, your insurance company will give an offer for the settlement claim. Usually, your claims adjuster will provide you with a meager amount to test your negotiation skills. However, this is where you should leverage everything that you’ve done before this step.
You shouldn’t accept their initial offer. Instead, you should send a counteroffer asking your claims adjuster for more details and providing your reasons why the initial proposal was rejected. This is where the negotiations truly begin.
To ensure that you maximize your compensation received, you need to emphasize the severity of your accident. Some great arguments to raise would be:
- Your pain and suffering from the injury
- The costs incurred for treatment, transportation, and rehabilitation of injury
- Any possible long-term effects from the injury.
As you outline all your points backed up by evidence and data, you’ll be in a stronger position to get fair compensation from your insurance company. Ultimately, you’re proving to your claims adjuster that you can’t be taken advantage of during negotiations.
Tips When Negotiating With the Adjuster
Now that you know what to do during settlement negotiations, here are some considerations for you when negotiating with your claims adjuster:
Craft a Convincing Story
Firstly, you should watch out for what stories to tell your adjuster. They will use all your and your witnesses’ testimonies to keep the settlement as low as possible. The best way to do this is to focus on the severity of the accident instead of recounting specific instances that can shift the blame to you and reduce your coverage eligibility.
Begin Negotiations As Soon as Possible
Secondly, your settlement negotiations as soon as the accident happened and you got medical treatment. After all, you can’t just apply for a fair settlement anytime you want. Not filing for just compensation immediately may imply that you don’t need it, which can hurt your case. Furthermore, the Statute of Limitations in Minnesota only provides for a maximum of two years to file a settlement claim on a personal injury.
You should also strive to finish your negotiations as soon as possible. To do this, you can specify a date and time for your adjuster to accept your offer in the Demand Letter. This will prevent them from dragging the negotiations out to buy more time against you.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, you should get a personal injury lawyer. Negotiating with your claims adjuster alone can make you vulnerable to lowballing since you’re not equipped with the necessary knowledge to beat them in negotiations.
A personal injury attorney specializing in this type of negotiation will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Minnesota Personal Injury Accident Lawyers
Suppose you’re looking for the best people to help you negotiate with your claims adjuster. In that case, you should seek the help of a personal injury attorney in Minnesota. Osterbauer Minnesota Injury Law Firm is a team of lawyers with over 20 years of experience in personal injury law. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your negotiations.