After an accident, the victim will want to get as much as possible from the auto insurance settlement. In turn, the insurance companies want to get out as cheaply as possible so they make an offer, which at first looks good until you think of possible future expenses, which could end up costing, much more than the offer made to you by the insurance agent. Call your insurance agent and let them know the other company made an unacceptable offer. Your agent will direct you to the company’s claims adjuster who will assist you in filling out an accident claim. In the paragraphs below, you will find some tips for getting the biggest auto insurance settlement possible.
Mediation is your first step. Mediation is less official but is also nonbinding where a mediator makes suggestions to help settle the claims dispute. Most insurance companies are willing to go into mediation to prevent the more serious arbitration, which is official. Most policies tell who to call for mediation or arbitration then fill out the arbitration form and specify whether you want mediation or arbitration.
If mediation does not work, the next step is arbitration. Fill out another arbitration form and send it to the dispute-resolution organization shown on the policy. If this organization is not on your policy, submit the demand to your state’s insurance department. If you are unable to find a demand for arbitration form, the American Arbitration Association has forms as well as your state’s insurance department. Arbitration is more serious than mediation and binding; both parties have to agree to arbitrate. Speak with a lawyer before you decide to go into arbitration.
Speaking with a lawyer is worthwhile, and if he represents you at arbitration, your insurance company must be informed. Hire a lawyer who is well versed in auto accident claims and if your case goes to court your lawyer will be the one to represent you. If you do not already have an attorney, you can contact your state’s bar association where there is a free legal referral service to give you names of qualified auto insurance attorneys. Insist your lawyer sends you copies of all correspondence and that he keep you current on the progress of the case.
If you are the victim of a rear-end collision and cannot settle with the insurance company you have the right to hire a lawyer and sue the company or the wrongdoer. You have to sue before any settlement is met. Once you agree to a settlement there is no filing a lawsuit. In some cases, it is possible to bring legal action against your insurance company after settlement due to an error in the settlement, the language of the settlement, or the process itself.
Try to reach a settlement that both parties are happy with without going through mediation, arbitration, or having to hire a lawyer would be ideal. Taking the wrongdoer or an insurance company to court would be a last resort as this can be very costly and time consuming.