Information from a Personal Injury Attorney on Negotiating a Settlement
Negotiating a settlement can be difficult without the assistance of a personal injury attorney. The insurance company is not always on your side. Insurance companies are commonly on the side of profits and making as much for themselves as possible. The less they pay you, the more money they make. To achieve this goal, they may employ a variety of tactics aimed at discrediting you and your claim. In other cases, they may point blame for the accident in your direction. Thus, it is critical to gather the necessary evidence to prove that their client was at fault. As your attorney, we can work to build a strong case so that the other party is compelled to come to the negotiating table.
Prior to Negotiations
Before you ever attempt to negotiate, you need an attorney to conduct an investigation that determines the events of the accident in detail. This process may involve speaking with witnesses, looking at pictures and obtaining accident reports. Other potential options include conducting depositions to ask the other party questions while they are under oath. Combined, the evidence gathered can be used to identify the negligent (at fault) party and build a strong case for why you should receive compensation.
The next step is to calculate what your injury claim is worth. As your personal injury attorney, we can work with your doctor and find out what your future health might be like. For example, will you fully recover within a few more months of treatment or are you likely to need medical care for the rest of your life? What does that look like and what might it cost? These are things we must determine to ensure that you do not receive less than you will need to pay for your total care.
Additionally, we will want to calculate other financial losses that you may struggle with, which can include:
- Wages you have lost by taking time off or becoming disabled
- The cost of hiring an in-home caregiver
- Rehabilitation services or staying in a rehabilitation facility
- Medications that you must take
Negotiating with the other party
We will then prepare and issue a demand letter for the other party to review. The demand letter is a basic letter stating the details of the case, what we feel your claim is worth and that we are open to settlement negotiations. Typically, the other side will negotiate by making a lower settlement offer than what is requested. In some instances, the other party may reject the offer outright. As long as numbers are going back and forth, there is a chance that a favorable settlement will be reached. Keep in mind that the stronger your case is and the more evidence we can gather, the more likely it is that they will settle.
During the negotiations process, we will keep you fully informed and discuss your options. At any point, you can decide to accept an offer and close your case. However, as your personal injury attorney, we will let you know if an offer is low or unfair. If you then decide to take the case to trial, we can represent you there as well.