Everything You Need to Know About Negotiating With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident

negotiating with insurance companies after a car accident

Being involved in a car accident can leave you dealing with injuries, property damage, missed work, and a long list of expenses. On top of the physical and emotional trauma, you now have to negotiate a fair settlement with an insurance company motivated to minimize their payouts at all costs.

Let’s be clear – insurance companies are multi-billion dollar businesses focused on protecting their profits above all else. Their adjusters are professional negotiators trained in tactics to devalue and underpay claims whenever possible.

This isn’t a fair fight, which is why attempting to handle insurance negotiations alone puts you at a major disadvantage. Having skilled legal representation levels the playing field and ensures your rights are protected from day one.

At Pasternack Injury Law Group, our experienced car accident attorneys have gone up against every major insurance provider. We understand all their games, loopholes, and ploys – because we’ve disarmed them all countless times before to win maximum compensation for our clients.

Understand the Insurance Negotiation Process

After you file your initial claim, the insurance company will assign one of their adjusters to investigate. Their job? To find any way possible to minimize how much money the insurer has to pay out.

These adjusters are trained negotiators who will use various tactics to lowball you on your settlement offer. They may seem friendly at first, but make no mistake – they’re not on your side. Insurance companies are multi-billion dollar businesses, and they didn’t get that way by giving away money out of kindness.

The Adjuster’s Playbook of Tactics

Some common tricks adjusters use include:

  • Rush you to give a recorded statement soon after the accident when you’re vulnerable
  • Ask controlling questions to get you to admit partial fault and
  • Request access to your medical records to find pre-existing conditions they can blame.
  • Hire contractors to inspect your vehicle damage and undervalue the repair costs.

We’re very familiar with these ploys, and we know how to combat them skillfully. Having an experienced car accident attorney handling all communication and negotiation from the start prevents costly mistakes that could jeopardize your claim’s value.

Gather Necessary Documentation

To protect your rights and build a strong negotiating position, it’s critical to compile all evidence and documentation related to your accident.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A copy of the official police report from the accident scene
  • Detailed photographic/video evidence of vehicle damage, injuries, road conditions, etc.
  • Prompt medical evaluation records documenting the full extent of your injuries
  • All bills, invoices, and records of monetary losses like missed work, childcare costs, etc.
  • Eyewitness statements and contact information

Having this comprehensive documentation allows us to accurately calculate the full extent of damages you’ve suffered, from property repair costs to medical expenses, lost income, and even pain and suffering. With clear evidence in hand, we can build an airtight case for why you deserve maximum compensation.

Calculate a Fair Settlement Amount

There is no set formula for calculating your total settlement value. Many factors go into determining a fair payout, from the severity of your injuries and long-term prognosis to who was at fault in causing the accident.

As a general baseline, your settlement should cover:

  • The full cost of all medical treatments, including future projected needs
  • 100% of your lost wages if you missed work, plus a portion of future earnings if applicable
  • All property damage costs like vehicle repair/replacement

On top of those economic damages, you also deserve compensation for non-economic damages like physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life activities, and potential disfigurement or disability.

Our legal team has insight into various formulas and multipliers used by insurance companies, courts, and relevant laws in California to properly value these non-economic losses. We’ll calculate a fair settlement amount that accounts for the full scope of damages you’ve incurred so you receive the compensation needed to help rebuild your life.

Draft a Persuasive Demand Letter

Once we have all evidence compiled and damages calculated, the next step is sending the insurance company a demand letter. This document lays out the facts of your case, proves their policyholder’s negligence in causing your injuries, and demands a settlement amount in line with applicable laws and precedents.

Our demand letters leave no stone unturned, including:

  • A clear, liability-establishing breakdown of the accident details
  • Well-documented evidence like crash reports, eyewitness statements, photos/videos, etc.
  • A detailed account of your injuries supported by medical records and bills
  • Calculating the full extent of your economic damages like lost wages, repair costs, etc.
  • Establishing a legal basis for your non-economic damages pain/suffering calculations
  • A final, justified demand for the total settlement amount you’re entitled to

By presenting an air-tight, professional demand package from the start, we show the insurance company we’re not interested in games. We make it clear that lowballing or delaying tactics won’t be tolerated because we’re prepared to take this battle as far as needed to secure maximum compensation.

Respond to the Insurance Company’s Initial Offer

Of course, the insurance adjuster’s first offer will be heavily slanted in their favor – we expect that. Their opening number may seem laughable but don’t take the bait and get frustrated. This is all part of their negotiating scheme.

When they put that first lowball number on the table, we’ll respond firmly and counter by justifying your demand amount again, backing it up with all our documented evidence of the damages and losses you’ve suffered.

Negotiate Strategically

The insurance company’s team will try every angle to protect their bottom line, putting pressure on you however possible. Maybe they’ll try to have you questioned again about the accident, looking for new ways to shift partial blame. Or they may make you a slightly higher offer, hoping you’ll see the carrot and just accept it to make this “go away.”

We’re masters of seeing through these underhanded tactics. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who know how to firmly stand our ground and leverage every piece of evidence to show why our demand for appropriate compensation is unquestionably justified.

Maintaining poise and patience during this tense process is key. We never let the insurance company rattle us or pull us off course from our target goal – securing you the compensation deserved, not just some inadequate amount to protect their profits.

Know When to Involve a Car Accident Attorney

You may be wondering if handling negotiations yourself is possible to save some legal fees. While you certainly have that option, the reality is that dealing with insurance companies is like swimming with sharks – they have extensive resources, legal teams, and slick tactics designed to take advantage of any mistakes.

Even just accidentally admitting some small percentage of fault in the accident, or rushing into accepting a settlement number you think sounds fair, could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or more in lost compensation.

By having our experienced car accident attorneys leading negotiations from day one, you avoid costly missteps and ensure every possible legal angle is leveraged to maximize your settlement. We know all the games insurance companies play, and we know how to outmaneuver them at every turn.

Protect Your Rights During the Process

It’s also important to understand your rights under California laws governing car accident injury claims. For example, did you know there are strict statute of limitation deadlines for how soon you must take legal action after an accident? If you delay too long, you could lose your ability to pursue compensation entirely.

The insurance company also has a legal obligation to negotiate with you in good faith. If their final settlement offer is blatantly unreasonable given the evidence and damages, we can proceed by filing a personal injury lawsuit against them to have the appropriate compensation amount determined in court.

No matter what curves this process throws at you, our team will ensure all your rights and best interests are comprehensively protected every step of the way.

Contact Pasternack Injury Law Group Today

We know how the games are played in these insurance negotiations – because we’ve been playing (and winning) for decades. Our attorneys have gone head-to-head against every major insurer, securing millions for car accident victims who were initially being lowballed on compensation.

Don’t take on this battle alone, and let the insurance giants take advantage of you. Having the relentless legal muscle of Pasternack Injury Law behind you from the very start gives you the highest leverage to force a fair settlement.

If the insurance company refuses to meet your justifiable demands, we’re prepared to take them on in the courtroom and put their unreasonable tactics on full display in front of a judge and jury.

So, if you or someone you love was recently injured by a negligent driver, don’t try handling this process on your own. Reach out to Pasternack Injury Law Group and request your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.

Author Bio

Barry A. Pasternack

Barry Pasternack brings over three decades of legal experience to his role as the founding attorney at Pasternack Injury Law Group. He holds a J.D. from the esteemed California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1988. Located in downtown San Diego, Barry’s practice serves clients throughout the San Diego region, providing comprehensive guidance and representation.

Barry’s commitment to his clients is unwavering, and your initial consultation is always free of charge. You only pay attorney’s fees when he successfully recovers compensation on your behalf. When you choose Barry Pasternack, you’re selecting a skilled legal professional who will tirelessly fight for your rights and work diligently to help you on your path to recovery.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google