Every case is different, so we cannot predict precisely what will happen in a specific instance, but some common themes occur during many settlement negotiations with auto insurance companies. If you got hurt in a car wreck, it could give you some peace of mind to know how a negotiation with an auto insurance company works.
Typical Flowchart of Negotiating with an Auto Insurance Company
What Can Happen When the Insurance Company Makes the First Offer
Sometimes the insurance company makes the first offer. When this happens, we contact you and let you know about their offer. If they make a reasonable offer and you are happy with it, we can accept it on your behalf. We will handle the settlement documents with the insurance company.
If you think that the insurer’s offer is too low (which is common), we can make a counter-offer. This process can continue, with each side going back and forth. If we do not reach a settlement, we can file an injury lawsuit asking the jury to award you compensation for your injuries.
What Can Happen When We Make the First Offer
If we make the first offer, we will write the insurance company with a settlement demand. We do not enter into this process without direct authorization from you. The insurance company can respond to our offer with one of these four actions:
- Reject our settlement demand.
- Reject our settlement demand but counter-offer with a different amount.
- Accept our offer.
- Ignore our offer.
The Next Steps If the Insurer Rejects Our Offer
If they reject our offer, we usually do not lower our settlement demand right away because doing so would be bidding against ourselves. Instead, we can put extra work into your case to beef up our arguments that you deserve the amount of compensation we demanded.
For example, we might gather additional evidence that shows that the other driver was negligent and caused the wreck. Sometimes this tactic results in the insurance company agreeing to our settlement demand or making a counter-offer. Of course, we notify you right away about the insurance company’s response.
The Next Steps If the Insurer Makes a Counter-Offer
If the insurance company turns down our offer but makes a counter-offer, we will contact you and discuss the terms of their offer.
If the counter-offer is within the range that you have decided to accept, you can authorize us to agree to the counter-offer. If the counter-offer is not acceptable, we can reject the terms or send a counter-offer to the insurance company.
The Next Step If the Insurer Accepts Our Offer
If the insurer agrees to the terms of our settlement offer, we will let you know the good news. We will then talk with the insurance company and decide on who will draft which of the settlement documents. There will be a settlement agreement that contains all the pertinent terms of the claim and agreed terms for resolution. There will also be a waiver for you to sign that says you will not be able to sue the defendant again for the same accident.
What to Do If the Insurer Ignores Our Offer
If the company ignores our offer, we can take your car accident case to court. Often, during the pre-trial discovery stage, one side or the other learns enough information to have the motivation to settle.
What You Need to Know About Waivers
When you settle a car accident case, you will have to sign a waiver. This document acts as a shield for the insurance company and the at-fault driver. You release the company and driver from future lawsuits for that wreck.
We do not like to settle car accident cases until you have completed all of your medical treatment and recuperated entirely, or achieved as much recovery as your doctor expects you to have. Until that point, you do not know how your injuries will affect your future health, independence, and ability to support yourself through gainful employment.
If you settle your case too early and later find out that you are going to have long-term problems, the insurance company will not pay you any more money. It will remind you that you signed a waiver of future claims for that accident. So, if you need to have surgery to repair the lingering problems, for example, you will have to pay for that medical care out of your own pocket.
How Long Negotiations Can Go On
Settlement negotiations can continue after we file the lawsuit.
We are happy to answer your questions about how the settlement negotiation process will work in your auto accident claim. Call today to learn more about how negotiation with an auto insurance company works and for a free consultation with a member of the Montero Law Center team: 954-767-6500. There is no obligation.