After someone has filed a personal injury claim with an insurance company, the insurer assigns that claim to a particular adjuster. Eventually, that same adjuster contacts the claimant. At that point, the two of them start negotiating.
Creation of the demand letter
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Fredericton, the claimant composes a demand letter. That gets sent to the defendant’s insurance company. Before making a demand, the claimant needs to determine how much his or her claim is worth. After doing that, the same claimant should pick a minimum acceptable settlement. That figure can be in the claimant’s mind, as the negotiations proceed.
The demand letter should state the claimant’s strong points. It helps to send supporting documents to the insurance company, along with the demand letter.
The adjuster’s role commences
The adjuster responds to the points in the demand letter. The adjuster might get a response from the claimant. That response signals the arrival of the time for negotiations. Consequently, the adjuster makes an initial offer. It is less than the amount demanded.
The counter offer
The claimant makes a counter offer, one that is less than the demand but more than the adjuster’s offer. The adjuster and the claimant keep exchanging offers, until they agree on one figure. At that point, the claimant should ask for confirmation of the agreed-upon figure. That becomes the amount of the settlement. That is the amount of money from which a claimant’s hired lawyer would take a contingency fee.
Guidelines for the negotiating claimant
The insurance company might send a reservation of rights letter. That shows that the company has launched an investigation. Still, it does not promise to pay any money, until it can be sure that the accident is covered.
Claimants should never accept an adjuster’s first offer. If it is close to the amount in the demand letter, then that means that the claimant ought to seek, more money. If the adjuster presents a low-ball offer, then the claimant should seek clarification of the reason for such a low offer.
Emphasize the emotional points during the negotiations. Those same points cannot be introduced in a courtroom trial. For instance, if the injury caused a great deal of pain, do not hesitate to mention that fact. By the same token, be sure the draw attention to your medical costs, if those were quite high.
Adjusters do not see the person with whom that must negotiate. That fact helps the adjusters to resist an urge to offer more. Still, if claimant do focus on emotional issues, then that approach alters adjusters’ attitude. It tends to make them more willing to come forward with a slightly larger offer.