Insurance Negotiations: What to Expect

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Photo by Chris Potter
Photo by
Chris Potter

After an accident, you can find yourself in a heap of financially damaging repair bills and medical expenses. Fortunately, this is what auto insurance policies are meant to prevent. So as long as you have obeyed Florida regulations, you should be able to get some compensation from your insurance company. The downside is that the insurance companies can give St. Petersburg residents a hard time, trying to undercut them on the payout, and leaving them with too little money for the expenses incurred. If you face this problem, there are a few things that you should know before you attempt to negotiate a better settlement.

The first thing to know, as you begin this process is that hiring a legal representative can actually ensure that you get more money. While there will be expenses related to the hiring of a personal injury attorney, their knowledge and experience will lead to a better payout from the insurance company and, on average, the person backed with that legal assistance will make out better than the person going it alone.

Once you have made the call to a Saint Petersburg attorney, you will have to determine how much money you require to cover the financial damages. This should be considered your minimum figure, and it should be kept between you and your lawyer. It will not be the number requested when you contact the insurance company (Keep in mind that you will not receive more than the maximum allowed by your policy, so you will have to know the particulars of your insurance coverage).

Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to jump at the first offer. Much like the classic car buying scenario, both parties are looking out for their own best interests. In this case, the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible, and you want to get the most money that you can, in order to ensure you don’t have to pay out of pocket. Therefore, the insurance company will offer a number lower than you request in the beginning. Taking that first offer can result in you getting much less than possible.

It is also a good idea to have as much documentation on hand as possible. That way you are better able to answer any questions that might arise. This can include medical bills, automobile repair quotes, medical records related to the accident, paystubs (if you have lost wages as a result of the incident), and even witness statements. The more knowledge you can arm yourself with, the better. Your attorney can help you accumulate everything you will need to ensure that you get the best possible settlement.

The lawyer will also discuss any emotional toll that resulted. Insurance companies will often pay more to victims who suffered emotionally as a result of the injuries incurred. And, whatever the final decision is, the insurance company should provide a written account of the settlement to be paid. Always be sure to get it in writing. This is in your best interest and will help to ensure that future legal action isn’t necessary.