Direct vs. Legal Negotiation in Insurance Claims After a Car Accident

May 16, 2024
Leaser Law Firm

You’ve had a car wreck, and now, you’re wondering whether a lawyer is necessary. It’s possible to file your own insurance claim, so why would you need an attorney to do something you could handle yourself?

Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Below, a Florida car accident attorney explains why retaining legal counsel is a must if you wish to recover damages fully.

What Is Direct Negotiation, and Why Is It Rarely a Wise Choice?

Direct negotiation simply means making a claim and negotiating with the insurance company yourself. Although direct negotiation can seem appealing because you don’t need a lawyer, you’ll probably soon wish you had one. Here’s why.

You Can Miss Important Deadlines

In some car accident cases, victims drag their feet for far too long before making an insurance claim. Perhaps the other driver convinces them to work things out without making a claim. 

“I’ll pay you for the damages,” the at-fault driver might say. But a few weeks go by, then a few months, and he still hasn’t paid up. By the time you realize you’ve been had, it could be far too late to make an insurance claim.

It’s Easy To Say the Wrong Thing

Insurance adjusters are pros when it comes to paying as little as possible for accident claims. One of their tactics involves convincing you to admit fault for the accident.

This is devious because of Florida’s modified comparative negligence rule. Under the rule, you can’t recover damages if you’re 50% or more at fault.

Adjusters act like your friend to convince you to admit at least partial fault. “Everyone speeds,” the adjuster may tell you. “Are you sure you weren’t going over the speed limit even a little?” If you say yes, you’ve just increased your level of fault.

Without a Florida car accident attorney, it’s easy to slip up and say the wrong thing, and one mistake could slash your settlement by thousands.

You Might End Up With a Lowball Settlement

It’s essentially a given that your first settlement offer will be far too low. Insurance companies aren’t charities and want to pay as little as possible.

If you don’t have a Florida car accident lawyer, it’s tough to know whether your offer is fair. You may be tempted to accept the offer because you doubt your claim is worth more. Or perhaps the idea of negotiating for more scares you, so you’d rather quietly accept the money and move on with your life.

This is a big mistake because your settlement won’t cover all your damages. You might have to pay for medical expenses and car repair bills out of pocket.

An Attorney Can Help You Win a Fair Settlement

Instead of going it alone, it’s far smarter to have an attorney to represent you throughout negotiations. Your attorney can determine whether the settlement offer is fair by asking questions such as:

  • Will the offer fully cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages?
  • If you lost a loved one in a car crash, does the settlement pay for funeral and burial expenses?
  • Does the offer include non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress?
  • Will you need ongoing medical care, and if so, does the offer account for that?

Your attorney can also minimize your degree of fault and tell you what to say (and not say) to the insurance adjuster.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney in Florida Now

Don’t risk a poor settlement offer by handling insurance negotiations yourself. Call Leaser Law Firm at (954) 233-3515 for a free consultation with a Florida car accident attorney.