It’s hard enough to cope with being in a car accident. Dealing with an insurance claims adjuster who sees you as just another case number is an additional stressor you don’t need. Not everyone understands the ins and outs of dealing with auto insurance adjusters. How do you navigate the claim and settlement process? If you need a Maryland auto accident attorney, the Law Office of Arthur Crum is here to help you step by step and also to help you determine when it’s time to have a car accident lawyer by your side.
Start the Claim Process ASAP
After you contact first responders and let loved ones know you’re okay, your next call should be to your insurance agent. Start the claim process as soon as possible. The sooner you recount the events, the better your memory of all the details.
Write down everything while it’s fresh. Take photos of the accident scene if possible. Exchange information with the other parties and witnesses. This also includes keeping accurate records of hospital visits, doctor bills, car repairs, police reports, and additional pertinent information. It may help to file it in chronological order rather than group it by category. That way, when you need something from a specific date, you can have it in hand quickly.
A Fair Settlement
Calculating a fair settlement isn’t a guessing game. When finding an accurate figure, you should account for:
- Medical care and related expenses
- Any income lost due to injuries
- Long-term medical care or loss of employment due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Repairs to or replacement of your vehicle
This is a good starting point for a ballpark estimate: a minimum acceptable amount.
Detailed Demand Letter
After you add up a fair settlement amount, it’s time to send your insurance company a demand letter. You should include:
- Description of the accident
- Details of your injuries
- Medical treatment received
- Ongoing health issues as a result
- Vehicle damage
- Losses incurred as a result
- The total amount you find acceptable
They will likely reply with an offer lower than the requested amount, so consider adding 25 to 100% more in your demand letter. Again, this is why it is crucial to keep detailed records of everything. No evidence can leave you with less money in your pocket when you deserve more.
Never Accept the First Offer
Your insurance company’s priority is not looking out for your best interests. They are in the business to maximize profits.
When you first receive an offer, it may be low. That’s a tactic to see how quickly you will settle and if you honestly understand what your claim is possibly worth. Ask for specific reasoning behind every dollar offered. Do not propose a lower figure from your original ask. Wait for the insurance company to counter.
Remember to always emphasize the points in your favor when communicating with your adjuster. Be focused on what’s essential. Talk about your quality of life, how your finances have suffered, what this means for you work-wise due to a loss of transportation, and how this impacts your family. Make it clear that you expect to be compensated fairly.
Always Get it in Writing
Always, always, always take detailed notes about your conversations with your insurance company. Get all settlement offers in writing. If you reach an agreement, ensure all dates and dollar amounts are in the contract and signed by the relevant parties.
If you find at any time that you are not making progress with your claim or your insurance adjuster is less than sympathetic and not taking you seriously, it’s time to contact the office of Arthur Crum. We have championed the rights of individuals in Western and Central Maryland who have been injured to ensure they are compensated. Our client is always our first priority. Let us help you maximize your case’s outcome. Contact us today!