Last week, I wrote about a typical car accident and the headaches you might have to endure to get your claim settled with the responsible driver’s insurance company (click here to read). One of the biggest headaches comes when the insurance company offers you $2,500 to settle the claim. Your medical bills are already triple the offer (an ambulance ride and trip to the ER will do that), and your neck still hurts.
If you’re not an insurance adjuster or lawyer who deals with claims on a daily basis, you probably have no idea what your claim is worth. Truthfully, evaluating a claim is as much an art as it is a science. But some of the following factors might persuade the insurance company that your claim is worth more than they’ve offered:
High property damage
High medical expenses
Demonstrable injuries recorded in medical records
Multiple cars involved and multiple impact
Aggravated liability (e.g., drunk driving or texting while driving)
Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list. Every accident is different and personal circumstances vary. You might consult with a personal injury lawyer to help evaluate and negotiate your claim. He might recognize important factors in your case that didn’t cross your mind. And he might have some advice about the timing of settlement (if your neck still hurts, timing can be crucial). With his experience on your side, you have the best chance to not be left holding the bag for someone else’s mistake.