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Posted in St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers on March 28, 2016   |  by Gary Burger

When to Settle Your Car Crash Case Pt. IV

How should you negotiate?

In negotiating with the insurance company, be polite. Kill them with kindness and be sweet. Be professional, non-argumentative and direct. Send things by paper or email and document your interactions. Follow up on matters and don’t let things delay too long. Give reasonable time for claim representatives to review material, as you are not their only claim, but then follow up in a courteous manner. Establish a rapport and a goal to resolve and settle this claim with the claim representative. Don’t give outlandish monetary demands.  Once you settle the claim, you can sign a release which releases your rights. But read it carefully and make sure you are not still injured and being undercompensated.

Do not be argumentative or adversarial with the claim agent. You can be firm and resolute, but be nice and kind at the same time. Claim representatives have a lot of authority and discretion in handling claims. If they like you, they might pay you more. If you are a jerk, they will not do you any favors and may not pay you as much as they would otherwise for your property damage claim, small personal injury claim, med pay, etc.  Make sure you provide adequate documentation. You need to provide medical bills, a medical authorization so they can verify the bills, medical records, witness statements, pictures, etc. If the claims agent refuses to pay you because they think it’s a low speed impact, and you have photos showing tremendous property damage, provide those photos to them. If you have medical records showing severe injuries that would warrant a much higher settlement, you should provide those records.  Although you would not normally want to provide anybody all of your medical records, if you are going to make a claim for personal injuries, you put your personal health at issue. So, many times you will be expected to provide medical authorizations to enable the claims representative to get all of your medical records and bills. This is normal. You can provide authorization and request copies of the records and that they will be destroyed when the claim is resolved.

Communicate by email so you document your interaction with the insurance company.  You can go back later and show delay, positions taken or incorrect representations that are made.  Confirm positions in writing – especially regarding insurance coverage, liability and damages.