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If you hire a lawyer, before filing a personal injury claim, then you do not have to negotiate with the insurance company; your lawyer does that for you. However, a claimant that does not have a lawyer will need to take part in such negotiations.

When do the negotiations start?

The two parties in a motor vehicle accident start negotiating after the presentation of an organized demand letter. The plaintiff or the plaintiff’s Personal Injury Lawyer in Saint John sends that letter, along with any supporting documents, to the defendant. After the defendant has received that letter, the adjuster at the insurance company calls either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s lawyer.

What happens during that first call, the one made by the adjuster?

During that call, both parties discuss their strengths. At the same time, both parties have an opportunity to mention the weaknesses in the other party’s case. Eventually, the adjuster makes an offer. The claimant should respond with a higher figure, but on that is lower than the optional figure. That pattern may get followed in a series of follow-up phone calls.

Possible event

The plaintiff may receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurance company. That letter should state that the filed claim is being investigated. The letter’s contents should make clear the fact that the insurance company reserves a specific right. That is the right not to pay the claimant until the investigation shows whether or not the submitted claim is covered under the reviewed policy.

Possible action by claimant

If the adjuster made a low-ball offer during the first phone conversation, the claimant might ask the adjuster to justify that same offer. The claimant can respond to the adjuster’s comments in a letter, offering a justification on a point-by-point basis.

If the adjuster fails to respond to that letter, the letter’s writer can request a response whenever the two parties (adjuster and claimant) speak again on the phone. Ideally, the 2 parties will emphasize the most emotional points, in order to push for the attainment of an agreement.

If the 2 sides do agree on settlement terms during a phone call, the claimant should put those terms in writing. Then a document that re-states the terms should be sent to the adjuster. At the same time, a written request ought to get included in the packet with the discussed terms. That is a request for a formal settlement document from the insurance company. Understand that the above directions outline the steps to be taken by claimants that have not hired a lawyer. Those with a legal representative have a professional’s help and guidance. Lawyers know when and how to push an insurance company to agree to a settlement.