Negotiating a Full and Fair Settlement for a Florida Injury Claim
When someone suffers an injury and it is the fault of another party, they deserve to be fully compensated. In most cases, the injured party must negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company (or their own insurer if the other party was uninsured or underinsured) in order to obtain a fair settlement. This typically means dealing with their insurance adjuster.
From the moment you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, it is important to understand that this is a negotiation between two parties that have competing interests. You want and deserve a full and fair settlement for your injuries, while the insurance company wants to mitigate their losses by paying out as little as possible. This is true even if you are dealing with the adjuster for your own insurance company.
The Negotiation Process
Negotiating a full and fair settlement for your Florida injury claims involves several steps. The exact process may vary depending on the insurer you are dealing with, but these are the general steps that must be taken:
- File the claim
The negotiation process begins as soon as you file a claim with the insurance company. This is typically done by phone or online, and it should be done as soon as possible after the incident. Insurance companies usually have fairly tight deadlines for initiating a claim, so make sure to do this as soon as it is convenient.
- The insurance company sends an initial letter
Within days after your claim is filed you should receive a “Reservation of Rights” letter from the insurance carrier. This letter is sent to inform you that they have received your claim, they are investigating it, and that they will be in contact with you shortly to discuss the claim further. In the meantime, they are not admitting any liability for the incident and the subsequent injuries that occurred. Around the time you receive the letter or perhaps even before the letter arrives, you may receive a call from the insurance adjuster. The purpose of the call is to introduce themselves, ask how you are doing, wish you well, and build rapport. Keep in mind that this, too, is part of the negotiation.
- Prepare and send a demand letter to the insurer
This is a very important step in the process as it helps set the terms for the eventual settlement. The demand letter should only be sent after you know the full extent of your injuries and the compensation you should receive for them. The letter should lay out your case clearly and succinctly, and accurately calculate the damages the injury caused. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity (if you suffered a debilitating injury), pain and suffering (both physical and emotional), and diminished quality of life.
- Receive a response to the demand letter
The insurance company responds to your demand letter by either agreeing to pay what you have asked, making a counter offer, or denying liability. Most often, they will either attempt to diminish the value of the claim or deny it altogether. At this point, there may be a series of offers and counter offers while trying to work out a settlement. The insurance company may give you what they say is their final offer. If you believe this offer is fair and fully compensates you for your injuries, you can accept it and settle your case. If the offer is unfair, you may need to seek compensation through litigation.
The negotiation process can be difficult, especially since you are dealing with an insurance adjuster who is a trained professional representing the other side. This can make it very challenging to secure a full and fair settlement for your injuries. The insurance adjuster may seek to take advantage of your situation and make a lowball offer in hopes that you will want to settle quickly. They also know that, without an attorney, you are unlikely to take them to court. This gives them far less incentive to offer you fair compensation.
Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone close to you was injured because of the reckless acts or omissions of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. To ensure that you are in the best possible position to secure a fair settlement, it is important to work with a seasoned personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can handle the negotiation process for you, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and putting your life back together.
At Whibbs Stone & Barnett, we have over six decades of combined experience representing injury victims in the Florida Pandhandle. We understand the major physical, emotional, and financial toll serious injuries take on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and seamless. We have a strong track record of success with even the most complex personal injury cases, and we put our extensive experience to work to provide the skilled and personalized representation our clients need and deserve.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 1-888-219-4561, or you may send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.