If you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s likely that you’ll be dealing with an insurance company to seek compensation for your losses.
Settlement discussions are common in personal injury insurance claims, as a way to resolve your dispute before going to court.
Though retaining a Colorado personal injury attorney provides you with a significant advantage, you may consider going it alone. These tips on settling a personal injury claim with an insurance company should help.
6 Tips for Negotiating a Settlement with the Insurance Company
Understand the Role of the Insurance Company
This important note at the outset will set the stage for the rest of these tips on how to negotiate an insurance settlement. An insurance company is a business like any other. Profits are central to their success, so insurers don’t have your best interests in mind.
They will do all they can to limit your compensation amount and find reasons to deny your claim. Keep this point in mind as you’re reviewing the other tips.
Conduct a Thorough Investigation
You’ll need solid proof of fault to convince the insurer that you’re entitled to compensation, which means you must have evidence to back your claim. Collect all the proof you can to show how the responsible party breached the legal duty to exercise reasonable care.
Know the Full Extent of Your Losses
Some damages are easy to calculate from a financial standpoint. You know your medical costs by reviewing records of treatment and procedures, and you can ascertain your lost wages by looking at your past paychecks. Other losses are more difficult to calculate, but you still need to consider them when negotiating with an insurance company. Insurers often use a multiplier to assess non-economic damages like pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.
Make sure you understand how the claims adjuster applies this formula, which is usually based upon your economic damages. For instance, if your lost wages and medical bills amount to $20,000 and the multiplier is 2.5, your non-economic losses are $50,000.
Make Sure to Present All Essential Documents
Your word isn’t good enough for an insurance company, so you’ll need to support your claim for damages with credible paperwork. When filing your claims forms, including all medical records and lost wages documentation. This information will provide support for reimbursement of your economic losses, as well as forming the basis for non-economic damages.
You should note that the multiplier used by insurance companies may not work for serious, catastrophic injuries and permanent bodily harm. You’ll need more documentation, such as the opinions of medical professionals, financial analysts, and other experts.
Be Prepared to Address Weaknesses
Even when you think your claim is ironclad, you can expect the insurance company to find flaws – which could be used to deny payment or reduce your amount of compensation. Colorado follows the rule of comparative negligence, which could reduce your financial award if your own actions contributed to the injury-causing accident. An insurer will no doubt use this type of information to reject your claim.
In addition, insurance companies will carefully review your medical records before entering into negotiations. Weaknesses may work against you if:
- You didn’t seek treatment for your injuries right away, an indicator that your injuries are not that serious;
- You stopped treatment recommended by your physician, skipped visits with your provider, or failed to follow doctor’s orders; or,
- You engaged in other acts to undermine your own claim.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations
Colorado has a statute of limitations that allows you three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. The law doesn’t directly affect negotiations with an insurance company, but it’s a factor if settlement discussions break down.
If you can’t reach an agreement, you’ll need to file a lawsuit in court to recover compensation. The statute of limitations is a complete bar to your case if you allow the time period to expire, so don’t wait too long while you’re negotiating with the insurer.
Consult with a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney About Insurance Company Negotiations
Though these tips on how to negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster may be helpful, it can be difficult to fully protect your interests if you don’t have a legal background.
You can trust an experienced lawyer to get the compensation you deserve by law, so please contact McCormick & Murphy, P.C. regarding your case. We represent clients throughout Central Colorado from our offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, and we’re happy to handle insurance settlement discussions on your behalf.