Understanding an Auto Accident Settlement

It can be difficult to know what steps to take following a car accident. Most people know to get the other driver's insurance information, and wait for police to come and assess the situation. But what happens when the insurance of the driver at fault won't cover the damages? Dealing with an auto accident settlement can be tough, but knowing how to proceed with the claim can make the process easier.

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

An adjuster is the person from the insurance agency that will handle the claims for the auto accident settlement. Often, once they have received all the documentation regarding the accident they will make the first offer for a settlement. If the person filing the claim has an opinion about what they feel their claim is worth, they can send a letter to the insurance agency with the amount rather than wait for the adjuster.

Negotiating an Auto Accident Settlement

When an insurance adjuster gives an offer for an auto accident settlement, the initial amount can sometimes be much lower than expected. Insurance agencies will try to minimize the amount they have to pay – they are a business, after all – but are prepared to pay a fair amount. Usually the adjuster will have a range of what they're willing to settle on, but they will start with the lower end of that range. Negotiations may have to occur with the adjuster for a while, and there may need to be several counter-offers before an agreement is reached. If the adjuster reaches the top of their range, they won't go any higher. If the amount is not acceptable to the person filing the claim, there may be a temporary deadlock in the negotiations.

Getting the Auto Accident Settlement You Deserve

A person may continue to try to receive the amount they feel they deserve even after an adjuster has reached the top of their range. The first thing to do is be sure that the amount desired is not unreasonable. Often a car accident lawyer can be helpful in determining a fair amount for the claim. If the amount is still higher than what the adjuster is offering, the next step is to provide reasons to the insurance agency for why you believe such an amount is deserved. When all other options are exhausted, hiring a lawyer can be the best way to finish negotiations with the desired result for the auto accident settlement.