When you've been injured by someone else's negligence, that person is responsible to you. Usually this means dealing with the person's insurance company. Sometimes the person's not insured, or doesn't have enough insurance to pay you. Then you may expect your insurance company to pay some or all of your damages.
Either way, dealing with an insurance adjuster can be frustrating and complicated. An adjuster is the person who decides what your claim is worth. It's important to get the most money for your claim. That's why it's a good idea to hire a lawyer to help you talk with the insurance company.
Your lawyer tells the people responsible you've been hurt. She lets them know you'll be filing a claim for your damages.
Your lawyer investigates the facts of your injury. You can help your lawyer by providing copies of the:
Traffic tickets given to the other person
Photos of the scene of the accident
Names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses and what they saw
Medical records and bills
Photos of your injuries
Wage stubs proving how much you made at the time of the accident and how much work time you missed due to your injury
You'll also want to provide your lawyer with any other papers you may have showing how your injury has negatively affected your life.
Your lawyer won't want to begin serious negotiation with the insurance company right away. She must wait until your injuries have stabilized enough to know what the permanent effects are. This can sometimes take months or even years. Don't pressure your lawyer into negotiating too soon with the insurance company. It's a mistake to settle your claim before you know the full extent of your injuries.
After collecting all the information about your injury, your lawyer writes what's called a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter explains:
Why the other person is responsible for your injuries
The extent of your injuries and how you're likely to be affected by them in the future
What type of medical treatment you've had and need to have in the future and how much it will cost
Current and future income losses
Any other damages you've suffered as a result of the accident.
The settlement package sent to the adjuster includes all the documentation you've given your lawyer to support your claim.
This letter demands a specific sum of money to settle your claim. You and your lawyer already have an idea of how much your claim is worth. The amount demanded may be far more than that. This allows room to negotiate downward as talks with the insurance company continue.
It may take a month or two for the insurance company to respond to your lawyer's initial demand letter. Insurance companies have many layers of management. They will all be involved in responding and approving things. Negotiations will likely move very slowly, as your lawyer and the adjuster talk back and forth.
The adjuster will probably make an offer to settle your claim for far less than the amount you requested in your demand letter. Your lawyer then suggests an amount lower than your original demand but higher than the adjuster's offer. This process continues until your lawyer and the adjuster hit on a settlement everyone can live with.
More at http://insurance.lawyers.com/