California motorists often find themselves being shortchanged in an insurance settlement without even knowing it. This is because insurance companies have the upper hand in negotiating the agreements because they know more about the car and the claim than the claimant. In fact, they count on the lack of knowledge of the claimant when they make an offer, expecting them to take less than they are really owed.
The way to counteract this is to learn as much as possible about a claim before filing it. Know what the vehicle is worth as well as each of the elements of the claim. This way, it will become readily apparent if the insurance adjuster is trying to make a low offer. Research can level the playing field when one party enters the process with superior information.
One can reject the insurance company’s initial offer knowing that it likely does not reflect the true value of the claim. The proper thing is to submit a counteroffer in the form of a demand letter that requests a higher amount and gives an explanation why. However, make sure not to create a situation where the insurance company can maneuver to its own advantage. Make sure to go high when choosing a dollar amount because the insurance company’s counter will still be for considerably lower than the request.
Hiring a motor vehicle accidents attorney can help keep the insurance company from taking advantage of someone in a settlement. The attorney might tell their client what their claim is worth so that they will know whether it is a good idea to accept the settlement offer in front of them. The lawyer could help their client negotiate the settlement agreement or could file a lawsuit on behalf of their client if the settlement offer is inadequate.