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Our “Ask Adam” series takes on a simple question that may be on the minds of many folks injured in car accidents: “Can I make a counteroffer to the insurance company?”

It usually unfolds like this: You have a car collision that’s not your fault. A few weeks or months later, the car insurer for the at-fault driver calls you or sends a letter offering to settle your case for a certain amount. At this point, you find yourself wondering about your options. Should you take the first offer? Is it negotiable? What’s the best way to make a counteroffer that is fair and likely to get me the best outcome?

The short answer is that nothing the insurance company says is final. It’s all up for negotiation until the settlement is agreed. How you go about that negotiation could make a HUGE difference in the outcome of your claim.

For small cases without serious injuries (e.g. no trip to the ER, minor aches and pains for a few days), it is sometimes advisable to try to resolve your claim without a lawyer. Sometimes, though, what appears to be a small case can have factors that make it more complicated or significant that it appears at first. You can’t know whether or not you need a lawyer for your specific case until you talk with an experienced car accident attorney to determine the right course for you. So before you negotiate with any insurance company, call me and set up a free consultation. If you don’t need a lawyer, I’ll tell you so, and give you some free tips on insurance company practices. If you do need a lawyer, we can talk about whether I’m the right lawyer for you. It’s a painless, no obligation process. You won’t regret it.