Nagel Rice, LLP discusses what you can do to get the most out of your car accident settlement.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Car Accident Settlement

By Greg Kohn

Maximizing your car accident settlement can help you receive the compensation you need to continue receiving ongoing medical treatment and fully reimburse you for your losses and damages caused by an accident. However, the goal of an insurance adjuster is to pay as little as possible to settle your injury claim. Because you are at odds with the insurance company, it can be difficult to know if you are receiving a fair settlement for your injury claim. Our New Jersey car accident attorneys offer five tips for negotiating top dollar for your car accident settlement.

Five Tips for Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement

1. Do Not Automatically Accept the First Offer You Receive

The insurance claims adjuster may offer you a quick settlement to resolve your injury claim. However, settlement offers made soon after an injury claim is filed are often for amounts that are far below the actual value of your claim. The adjuster offers a very low settlement amount to determine if you understand the value of your claim. Instead of immediately accepting or denying the first offer, tell the adjuster you need a few days to consider the offer to determine if it is a fair and reasonable settlement offer.

2. Do Not Settle an Injury Claim Before Your Doctor Releases You from Treatment

Settling your car accident claim before your doctor releases you can result in a much lower settlement amount. Until you complete treatment, you cannot know whether you sustained a permanent impairment or disability. Permanent impairments and disabilities increase the value of a car accident claim. Always wait until your doctor provides you with a detailed prognosis that includes an impairment rating, if applicable, before settling your claim.

3. Tell the Adjuster You Want a Written Statement Justifying the Offer

If the insurance company is attempting to undervalue your injury claim, it will not be able to provide a reasonable explanation or justification for the settlement offer. On the other hand, if the company offers a reasonable explanation of why it has chosen a specific settlement amount, you may need to re-evaluate your opinion of the value of your car accident claim. In some cases, the insurance company may not have all the information to value the claim correctly. A written justification allows you to provide additional information which may increase the settlement offer.

4. Keep Detailed and Accurate Records

The insurance company will not reimburse you for financial losses without proof of those losses. Therefore, to maximize your insurance settlement, keep detailed records of all out-of-pocket expenses and financial losses related to the accident, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses, including over-the-counter medications and medical supplies
  • Loss of income
  • Travel expense
  • Assistance with household chores
  • Assistance with personal care

Also, document your physical injuries, pain, and suffering by taking photographs of your injuries during your recovery and record your daily pain levels and challenges with daily tasks. With a pain and suffering journal, you can detail how your injuries and the accident have altered your daily life.

5. Know When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Some car accident claims can be settled without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is wise to know when you need an attorney’s help to settle an injury claim. You may want to consult with a New Jersey personal injury attorney if: 

  • The insurance company denies liability
  • The insurance company is claiming you are partially at fault for the cause of the car accident
  • There are multiple parties are involved
  • You sustained traumatic injuries or permanent impairments
  • You have substantial financial losses
  • You need to file an underinsured motorist claim or uninsured motorist claim
  • The insurance company refuses to make a good faith settlement offer and time is running out to file a personal injury lawsuit

Contact a New Jersey Auto Accident Attorney for Help

If you have questions about a settlement offer, do not hesitate to contact a New Jersey trial and personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney understands the tactics used by insurance companies to undervalue and unfairly deny valid injury claims. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey car accident lawyers today.  We understand the best way to fight insurance companies who are acting in bad faith.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.