More than 90% of the time, a car wreck case will be settled before it ever reaches trial. People want to avoid pricey and lengthy litigation, so they tend to achieve mutual settlements.
If this is the case with you, the best way to know that you can achieve a good settlement is to present your most compelling case to the insurance company. Show them a detailed demand letter, and strong follow up negotiations.
What’s a Demand Letter?
In this letter, the injured party presents the facts and circumstances of the accidents and what medical treatments were achieved. This will set the settlement negotiations. Your demand letter is a good way to show your case to the insurance company.
The demand letter should contain a recitation of the events that lead to the accident. Include information about the medical treatment you received and show your medical bills and lost wages. Such letters usually will ask for much higher compensations than what the injured party will reasonably accept. The demand is done so your Indianapolis car wreck attorney can have room to negotiate and come to an amount that will work for you (that will not be as high as the initial demand).
Negotiating After Your First Offer
Once the insurers get your demand letter, they will review it with the documentation you offered. Then, they will make a settlement offer for your car wreck case. Expect low offers at first. This is their side of the negotiation. You demanded perhaps some crazily high amount, and they are offering the complete opposite.
Don’t allow this to change your mind. This is just the door that leads to negotiation. By no means, you should accept the first offer.
If you go with an attorney, he or she will have a written response for your insurers, telling them that you are declining their offer. In the declining letter, you will state the reasons why this offer is not acceptable (high medical bills, too many lost wages, pain, and suffering).
This letter must be polite (don’t get mad because they offer less than you deserve) but should state what you demanded in the first letter. Then, write that you are willing to reduce your offer, but again it should not be drastic. Let’s say you demanded $10 000, and the insurer offered you $3000. Now, tell them you are willing to reduce your demand by the amount they offered you, and that now you demand $7000.
Be aware that this negotiation will take time. Feel free to add additional information like letters from your doctor, or proof of your injuries.
Mediation is a good help if the negotiation is going nowhere. A neutral party will try to help you achieve a settlement.
The mediator will offer you a new aspect and will show the strong and weak sides of every party involved. Usually, the mediator will create a link between you and the insurers and will manage to create a solution to the settlement.
Accepting the Offer
No matter if you have to use a mediator or you and your insurers had a long negotiation process, you will, at some point, get an offer that will be acceptable. Make sure you check it twice (whether it covers your medical bills or any bill that you asked for). The proposal should give you reasonable compensation for your fees, including the ones you spent on attorney’s services.
Do not settle for a verbal settlement, and always seek a written one.
Usually, insurers won’t send a check until they get a “release” signed by you. This release is a legal document that shows that you will not pursue other claims for damages once you receive the offered settlement.
Be sure that your injuries got the best recovery before you accept the payment and sign the release. If you are content with how your health is improving, then sign and send the release. Also, send a letter where you inform your insurer that you expect to receive the check as soon as possible.
If you are doing this process with an attorney, the insurer will send the money to them, and they will later send the money to you.
Contact an Attorney for Help With Your Car Wreck Case
The best and least stressful way to go through this process is to hire an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer who knows how to negotiate in settlements of this type.
Call our attorneys and schedule your consultation. Our team is expecting you.