Negotiating with your insurance adjustor can be a stressful process. If you have attempted to be reasonable and to reach an amount that seems fair for property damage, yet you have been unable to reach an agreement, you have several options. Keep in mind that if the negotiation is about bodily injury damage, you are likely much better off to consult with an experienced car accident attorney in St. George, Utah. Their experience in valuing claims will give you a great advantage and will help insure that you get what you deserve. Negotiating is an art. Most of us do not negotiate professionally. Adjustors have advanced systems to help them prepare their numbers, and they have teams of attorneys on call at any time, so the cards are stacked against you. If you would like to explore other options before consulting with an attorney, the following tips may be helpful:
- A last ditch tool that can be used before considering arbitration is threatening to file a complaint with the Department of Insurance in your state. Although the Department of Insurance will not likely directly help you get more than what the adjustor is offering, insurance companies do not like to be reported to them so even mentioning the possibility of a complaint may raise your adjustors final offer a bit.
- Your insurance policy likely has an arbitration provision, meaning that when you and your adjustor cannot agree, a third party will be assigned to hear you out and recommend a settlement. Arbitrations are meant to be binding but they can be appealed. Either party may be able to appeal the decision of the arbitrator. If you do opt for arbitration, you will likely need to pay for an appraiser to evaluate your claim. You will also need to split the cost of the arbitration. So this option may only be worth it if you and your adjustor are not close on your valuations of your claim. If your insurance company does not follow through on an order from a binding arbitration, you will have a bad faith claim against your insurance company.
- Another option is small claims court. The small claims court limit in the state of Utah is $10,000. In other words, if you are seeking more than that for your claim, do not file in small claims court. Instead, hire an attorney. If you are seeking less than $10,000, the small claims process can give you access to the court system. Some people consult with attorneys when they file in small claims, but many are able to proceed through that process without the services of an attorney. The small claims process will be fairly easy to understand. You will have to pay a filing fee, and you will likely still want to pay to have an appraiser evaluate your claim.
- Filing a formal lawsuit. If another driver was at fault, and your damages are significant. You will very likely be better off with legal representation. Any time you are seriously hurt, or fault for the accident is being disputed, you are much better off with an experienced auto-accident attorney. Costs of litigation can stack up quickly. Most attorneys will assume all the risk of losing their shirt by advancing all the court costs for you because they are trained to be able to measure the odds of winning your claim before they even get started.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.