After a personal injury accident, the negotiation with the insurance company is important for obtaining the right amount of compensations for your injuries, medical bills, and emotional strain. The negotiation phase starts after you sent the demand letter to the insurance company. After this, the insurer will present arguments that will most likely diminish the value of your claim and will try to get you to settle for less.
It is important to go through the negotiation process with a clear settlement amount in mind and have the right counter-arguments so that the insurance company does not attempt to lessen your compensation. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you during the insurance company negotiation phase.
Successful negotiation with the help of a Los Angeles personal injury attorney
Insurance companies will treat personal injury accidents with a reasonable amount of care but their offers for compensations might be lower than the true amount needed to cover the damages. While some cases are easier to settle than others, especially when the injuries are not extensive, in cases where the victim has sustained traumatic injuries it is best to request the help of one of the Los Angeles personal injury attorneys.
A lawyer will help you outline the strongest points in your case and will help you negotiate with the insurance adjuster. A straightforward claim and one that is not made in a hurry will have greater chances to receive a larger amount of compensations once a counter-demand is placed.
Our lawyers invite you to watch a short video about the negotiation phase:
Key questions in the negotiation process
The insurance adjuster will need to know the most important details about the accident. The manner in which you present these facts can be crucial for the negotiation process. Common questions asked by the insurance agency can include:
-your injuries: if they are temporarily or permanently disabling;
-the medical bills: nature of the treatment and whether or not other medical problems could have aggravated your health;
-coverage: if your insurance policy covers those specific types of injuries.
The insurance adjuster will ask for evidence that supports your claim and, more importantly, the amount that you have asked for. The following types of documents will help you support your case:
- all of the medical records and bills: you should be in charge of obtaining these documents and not the insurance company; you can make sure to collect them yourself and not give up control of knowing how much your current and future medical treatment is worth; you may need to obtain a prior authorization form for the medical documents;
- a copy of the police report; charges may apply;
- wage loss information from your employer, if the loss of income is an issue in your case;
- good photographs of the actual damage (especially important in vehicle accident cases when negotiating with the insurance company).
A personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you prepare your answers to these questions. Moreover, our experts can help you claim according to the California insurance code and obtain all the rightful compensations you are entitled to.
You should know that if you decide to start the negotiation with the insurance company on your own, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney will likely be unable to increase your case to a higher category of claim after the negotiation has begun. You should not give the impression that you would settle for a lesser amount than your case is worth. Choosing to work with an attorney can discourage the adjuster to lesser your amount on the presumption that you are willing to accept any settlement.
Calculation method for damages in personal injury cases
The insurance company will use various methods to calculate the types of damages one can sustain during a personal injury in Los Angeles. The types of accidents in which people sustain serious or even life-threatening injuries are not uncommon, especially in a large and densely populated city like L.A. Insurance companies know that, in case of serious injuries, like spinal cord injuries and even paralysis, the medical costs will be much larger than the amount paid for the insurance policy.
The typical calculation method includes the economic losses, like medical bills, property damage and others, which can be easily calculated, to which an amount for pain and suffering is added. The latter is harder to quantify, this is why insurance companies will use a formula to calculate the due amount. One usual method consists of multiplying the actual damages by a certain number (depending on the severity of the injury). An alternative method is to pay a certain amount every day from the accident until the injured individual has recovered.
The calculation method will depend on your insurer. Many of them will use only a computer program that helps determine a certain amount for the settlement.
Calculating the right amount for the compensation
The first step after recovering from the personal injury is to file the claim with the insurance company which is required to calculate the amount due by the insured party. As seen above the compensation is usually calculated automatically through a computer calculator. So this is the first problem you can encounter when filing your claim with the insurance agency: a lower compensation than you deserve. This is also where our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can help you: they can help you make your own calculations and then compare them to the amount offered by the insurer.
The investigation of the claim
The second most common problem you could face when filing your claim with the insurance company is that it will not simply hand you the money. It first needs to investigate how the personal injury happened. The company will most likely gather its own evidence in order to reduce the compensation to the lowest amount accepted by the law and that is why getting all the facts straight when filing the claim is very important. Our L.A. personal injury lawyers can help you do just that: collect all the evidence which would help you win your case before the insurer.
The insurance adjuster could be a problem
The insurance adjuster is the person in charge with analyzing the case and making the offer. They will usually take into account the following factors:
the statements of both the insured and the liable party;
the police report, which can weigh a lot in a personal injury;
all other statements or reports on the accident;
the medical records on the accident;
the insured’s medical record, in order to determine if the injury was not sustained prior to the accident;
the claimant’s payslips and even bank account statements, if the injured person will declare he or she was incapacitated to work as a consequence of the personal injury.
Based on of the above, the insurance adjuster will try and make a lower offer and thus take the case to court. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can also help you if you will want to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
An L.A. personal injury attorney can help
Insurance agencies will use any way to reduce or even refuse to pay your claims in certain cases. Vehicle accidents are some of the cases in which certain insurers will try to prove that you can be to blame for the accident. Although comparative negligence is applicable in certain cases, including motor vehicle accidents, you should not allow your insurer to refuse payments.
Marc Y. Lazo is specialized in personal injury cases as well as in complex business and commercial litigation. He has tried numerous cases to successful verdict and has obtained multiple six-figure judgments in both state and federal court.