How to Negotiate Rear End Settlements

By Michael Scarn

Being in an automobile accident can be traumatic and distressing. Even relatively minor rear end accidents can cause significant injuries to your back and neck and leave serious damage to your car. Oftentimes either the party who rear ended you or that party's automobile insurance company will contact you to negotiate a settlement for your pain, suffering and damages to your car. It is important to properly negotiate your settlement to maximize the amount you receive as a result of the accident.

Keep complete and accurate records of all medical bills, auto repairs and any other expenses related to the accident.

Consult with a personal injury attorney in your area to learn what the attorney believes your auto accident damages and medical bills are worth in a settlement. Almost all personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations to discuss your case with you. You may also want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you in the settlement negotiations.

Write a letter to the insurance company representing the party who rear ended you. Restate in the letter the facts related to the automobile accident, the medical bills you have incurred, the time this incident has taken away from your family and employment, the damage done to your car, the emotional trauma and harm the accident has caused, and any other relevant issue that supports your right to a settlement. Include supporting documentation to support your claims. If the party who rear ended you does not have automobile insurance, the letter should be written to that party instead. Do not state in the letter a particular dollar amount that you are seeking as settlement.

Let the insurance company or other party make the first offer. Do not necessarily accept the first offer you receive; make counteroffers where you feel it is necessary. If you believe the offer made is low, you can demand for the party or insurance company to explain how they calculated that number.

Require that all settlement offers from the other party or his insurance company be in writing. It is very difficult to enforce an orally agreed settlement offer if the other party or insurance company later fails to follow the terms of the agreement you reached.

About the Author

Michael Scarn is a legal, automotive, fitness, business and aviation writer. He has been a professional writer since 2006. Scarn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University as well as a Master of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate—both from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.