After a car accident, victims often rely on insurance money to provide the compensation they need to obtain medical care and make up for the wages lost when work is missed. It seems straightforward enough—insurance policies are designed to protect people in these situations. However, settling a claim with an insurance company is often anything but simple. Insurance representatives are out to save their employer as much money as possible, even if it means pressuring victims to accept less compensation than they deserve.
While it can be tempting for victims to go it alone with the settlement negotiations, it’s important to understand what the process involves and take advantage of the knowledge and experience an attorney can provide. If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries in a car accident, compensation from insurance can contribute significantly to your success going forward—both physically and financially.
Accident Settlement Negotiations Start With a Demand Letter
Regardless of the situation, an insurance company won’t do anything unless you ask them. For accident victims, this typically involves sending a demand letter. A demand letter is usually the official start of negotiations and it details:
- The circumstances of the accident.
- Why the other person is at fault.
- The injuries you’ve sustained.
- Compensation you are seeking.
It is often necessary to provide documentation supporting your claims (accident reports, medical records, etc.) to strengthen your case. Additionally, it’s important that this letter be both persuasive and accurate. A sloppy note or one that does not demand enough compensation can undermine your ability to be successful.
Negotiating Your Alaska Car Crash Settlement
The demand letter will typically begin negotiations. The insurance company will start an investigation into your claim. Claims agents may want to interview you or ask you to sign documents. It’s critical that victims avoid offering a statement or signing anything without fully understanding the implications and consulting with an experienced attorney.
Based on its findings, the insurance company will respond to the demand letter, and it is likely it will offer you compensation that is less than what was requested. Accident victims do not have to accept any unsatisfactory offer, and it’s important to keep this in mind. It is possible to go back and forth many times with these companies, debating different facets of your claim and disputing the numbers. Insurance companies will try to mislead accident victims or pressure them into taking a quick settlement. This is usually only to the benefit of the insurance company, and it is often advantageous to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
How an Injury Attorney Can Help Obtain a Fair Amount
Insurance company representatives spend their days in professional negotiations, and it can feel overwhelming to victims to engage in the process, especially during a time already fraught with stress from injury and missed work.
An experienced injury attorney has been in this situation with other clients before. He will understand the process and the games the insurance companies play. A lawyer can help victims fully understand their rights to compensation and state a compelling case. Effective legal representation provides victims and their families with the knowledge and the confidence to insist on all the compensation they deserve.
When Negotiations Fail, An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
At times, the negotiations may not resolve successfully. The insurance company may refuse to settle your claim in a manner that befits your injuries and experience. All is not lost, however. It is possible to pursue legal action against the responsible parties to obtain that vital compensation. While many victims are unsure about pursuing litigation, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies can be held accountable for their actions.
At the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, attorney Ben Crittenden has represented many accident victims and their families as they took on insurance companies. While they may not have your best interests at heart, Ben works hard to make sure every car accident victim is able to obtain the compensation they need to move forward safely and securely. If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident because of someone else’s carelessness, Ben may be able to help. Call our Anchorage office today to speak with Ben and learn more about your rights.