After you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If this is the case, an auto insurance provider might speak with you and request that you accept their settlement offer. You might be eager to receive compensation in any form and you might accept the offer while on the phone. Afterward, you might wonder if you are allowed to negotiate a better settlement.
Settlements Accepted Verbally Over the Phone
Normally, for a settlement to be accepted, it must be in writing. However, because your phone call is recorded, the recording of you accepting the settlement offer might be used as evidence that you have now agreed to settle for that amount. You'll want to speak with an attorney so you can take the steps necessary to make sure that you are not forced to accept the settlement offer.
The Context of Your Conversation
The context of the conversation matters with regard to your acceptance of the settlement. For example, if your conversation was more casual, the fact that you accepted the settlement offer does not matter as much because you might not have been fully informed of the ramifications of accepting the settlement offer and your rights. Therefore, you might be able to use this fact to negotiate a new settlement that is more favorable to you.
However, after you have verbally accepted the offer, the insurance provider might refuse to continue negotiating. If this is the case, your pedestrian accident attorney will be able to help. The first step will be to gather evidence to prove that you didn't contribute to the accident as a pedestrian.
You will also need to gather evidence that you were injured as a result of the accident. You will want to make sure that the damages you have suffered are comprehensive. Then, the next step is to have a demand letter crafted that will begin the negotiation process.
Your Demand Letter
Your demand letter will need to make a settlement offer that is as high as possible. Your ultimate settlement amount will likely be lower, but you want to start from a strong negotiating position. Then, you will be able to negotiate down to a lower amount if necessary.
However, if the insurance provider refuses to negotiate because you verbally accepted an initial settlement offer, your pedestrian accident attorney might recommend that you take the insurance provider to trial so you can seek full compensation for your injuries.
Reach out to an accident law firm like Stawicki Anderson & Sinclair to learn more.