Insurance companies are famous for undervaluing claims. This is no secret. What many don’t know, however, is that all claims are negotiable. If you were involved in a traffic collision, or suffered a physical injury from someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, the person who caused the harm is responsible for compensating you for all harm that you suffered as a result of the accident. That includes reimbursement for all your personal belongings that were damaged, including everything from the repairs to your vehicle and auto rental expenses to your sun glasses or cell phone that might have been damaged. It also includes compensation for all your medical bills, any lost wages, and costs that you incurred out of your own pocket. These figures are fairly easy to calculate when you are trying to negotiate your claim.
The variables that make negotiations a bit more complicated is your pain and suffering. It is your anxiety, depression, fear, worry, weight loss or gain, how the accident has affected your personal relationship with your significant other, and so on that cannotbe plugged into a computer system for valuations. There are a variety of ways to calculate these values. The pain that is commonly associated with certain types of injuries, the duration of that pain, and its frequency is usually where we start.
It is important to know that the insurance company that you are negotiating with will use a computer system that employs a formula to assist them in evaluating your claim. The system and its results are not the “end all” and most often, the insurance companies first offer is severely below what you deserve. Keep in mind that, regardless of how the insurance adjuster may come across in your dealings, their job is to close your claim as quickly as possible for as little as possible. Period.
California law affords those who are involved in car accidents with ample time to negotiate their claims outside of court. Make sure you have all your records together and you’ve documented your pain and suffering well before you begin to negotiate your claims. In the meantime, advise the insurance company that you are working with that you will NOT sign an authorization allowing them access to your medical records and that you will be in touch when the times comes to resolve your claim.
If have any questions or would like help with your claim, feel free to contact me at (209)465-6633 and I’d be happy to help in any way I can.
-Trina Cervantes, Esq.