These are the Top 5 accident settlement mistakes I see people make, and they all can be easily avoided.
Accident Settlement Mistake #1: Assuming The Insurance Company Will Be Fair
They have no legal duty to be fair to you.
They will protect their interests, not yours.
That’s just the way it is.
Deal with it.
Among other things, this means that you have a better chance of getting a good settlement if you show the insurance company that it is in their best interests to settle. Normally, that means showing them through the detail and power of your presentation that they should settle for your figure because you will get more from them if your case goes to court.
Accident Settlement Mistake #2: Settling Your Claim Before You Know The Full Extent Of Your Injuries.
If you settle a car damage claim and then discover – or, more commonly, the mechanic discovers – that there is additional damage, you can submit a claim for the newly discovered damage. In fact, this is quite common.
On the other hand, when you settle an injury claim and sign a release, you cannot make a later claim if it turns out that you are more seriously injured or have more damages than you initially thought.
As an example, assume that you settle your injury claim with Good Hands Insurance Company on a Monday and then discover when you see your doctor on Wednesday that your injuries are more serious than you thought. Your doctor tells you that you will need an operation, that the cost will be at least $30,000 and that you will miss 3 months of work while you recuperate.
Do you know how much more you can recover because of this newly discovered information?
If you said nothing, you were right.
You can only settle your injury claim once. Therefore, you must be sure that you know the full extent of your injuries and other damages before you settle.
When you make an injury claim, you tell a story, the story of your accident and its effects on you. Do not make the claim until you know the whole story.
(But, of course, watch out for the Statute of Limitations time limit within which you must settle your claim or file your case in court.)
Your body, and your doctor, will tell you when you have fully recovered.
Accident Settlement Mistake #3: Failing To Submit Adequate Documentation
Insurance companies are pyramid shaped organizations with the adjuster that you will be dealing with at the bottom of the pyramid and then levels of supervisors above him.
The adjuster fears one thing more than anything else, being seen as too soft and giving up too much of the insurance company’s money.
One way that adjusters protect themselves against criticism from supervisors is to have documentation for the claims decisions they make.
So help the adjuster help you. Give them the documentation they need.
There are many articles throughout this website that explain what things the adjuster needs to document, but the article about Colossus, the insurance company claims settlement software system, will give you a good summary of the types of things that the insurance companies consider (and which you therefore must document).
Accident Settlement Mistake #4: Needlessly Establishing An Adversarial Relationship
Yes, I have told you that the insurance company you are dealing with is looking out for its interests, not yours. And, yes, they want to give you as little of their money as they can.
But that does not mean you should needlessly establishing an adversarial relationship.
You may never settle your claim, but you don’t want negotiations to fail because of you are hyper-aggressiveness or because you come across as rude or unreasonable. It’s very easy for an adjuster to simply deny your claim or make a low-ball offer, leaving you no alternative but a long court battle.
Try to establish a collegial business relationship based on the idea that you and the adjuster have a problem to solve, how to fairly resolve your claim.
Instead of banging heads in contentious negotiations, try to put your heads together to figure out how to fairly settle your claim.
This approach is not only more pleasant but, more importantly, much more likely to be successful.
Accident Settlement Mistake #5: Settling Without Adequate Know-How.
The premise of this website is that can settle routine car accident claims for full value without a lawyer (and pocket the amount that a lawyer would charge).
But a fair settlement won’t happen magically. You have to make it happen.
That means, first of all, that you have to learn the car accident claims settlement basics, such as what claims you can make, how to make them and how much you can recover.
This website is here to teach you what you need to know to achieve fair car accident settlements.
Be sure to subscribe to my free course on “Car Accident Claims Tips.” Just sign up below, and we will deliver the first lesson to your inbox right away.
The best way to get the information you need, however, is to get my ebook “The Car Accident Claims Kit” which has all the information, checklists and forms you need to make a successful car accident claim.
Initially published in 2008, my book has been helping people across the country maximize their settlements since then.
Recently, I revised, updated and expanded The Car Accident Claims Kit and released the SECOND EDITION. I have also prepared a NEW 20-step checklist called The Car Accident Claims Kit ACTION GUIDE and it comes with the Car Accident Claims Kit.
My books are inexpensive and come with a full money back guarantee for 60 days, so you have nothing to lose by trying them out. But a great deal to gain.