Those who have been in an accident in California often think that the insurance company’s settlement offer must be taken no matter what. However, while the insurance company has some power, it is not in a position to dictate the settlement amount. Claimants have the right to negotiate their claims and are expected to do so. Otherwise, they could be leaving money on the table.

The insurance company banks on the lack of knowledge of claimants about the value of their claim. They purposefully lowball their first offer, in some cases just seeing how little a claimant is willing to accept. The smaller the check the insurance writes, the more their profits are. The way to counteract this is to fully know the value of the claim when it is submitted. This includes both the car as well as all of the other elements of the claim.

When the insurance company’s offer comes in low, be prepared to respond in writing with a demand letter. This should both give a counteroffer and provide the support for that number. Make sure to provide supporting documentation to the insurance company. When selecting the amount of the counteroffer, add a fair amount to the baseline value of the claim to allow some room for further negotiation with the insurance company. It may take several rounds of proposals.

Negotiating with the insurance company takes some determination and patience. This can be difficult for someone who is already dealing with injuries from an accident. They should retain a personal injury lawyer to deal with the insurance on their behalf. The attorney could assist their client by negotiating the claim and helping their client reach a settlement with the insurance company. Most of all, the attorney may help by knowing the true value of the claim.