Personal Injury Settlement Negotiations: What To Know
When a car accident makes you decidedly "unsettled" it might be time to settle the case. Settlements are often valued more highly than taking cases to court because of the time and money-saving aspects. Accident cases, however, can be complex and not everyone understands what they deserve. The best way to approach a settlement negotiation is by contacting a personal injury attorney for help. Read on to find out more about negotiating for a good settlement.
Professional Help Needed
Many accident victims attempt to handle settlement negotiations on their own, but this is very unwise. You deserve to be paid for certain losses and knowing not only what those categories of losses are but also understanding how much money you are owed is critical. Asking for more than what is customary and usual will get you nowhere while signing away your rights to adequate compensation means leaving money on the table. Instead, speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case.
The Process Begins
The lawyer will take a look at your losses, your evidence so far, and the issue of who was at fault for the accident. From that information, along with some investigations on their part, the lawyer will form an idea of what you deserve to be paid. This is no ordinary calculation. It involves taking your medical expenses and multiplying that number by a certain factor. The results are an estimation of your pain and suffering. The remainder of your losses, like lost wages and your vehicle, are then added to that sum. In many cases, your attorney will begin the negotiations by sending the other side (the at-fault driver's insurers) a demand for payment. In some instances, the insurance carrier will present you with a low-ball offer first. Unfortunately, far too many accident victims jump at this insultingly low offer and never know what they are missing out on.
Counteroffers and Your Bottom Line
Usually, personal injury negotiations take place over the phone between lawyers for each side. After the initial demand letter or low-ball offer is tendered, a counteroffer may be appropriate. Counteroffers are usually at the midway point between the initial offer and the bottom line, but things can vary depending on fault and the seriousness of the medical expenses. For example, those with extensive injuries that might include future medical treatments might need to hold fast at a higher bottom line. You will set your bottom line together with your attorney. If more information should come to light during the negotiations, you may need to remain flexible with your bottom line.
Settlement negotiations can be very difficult for accident victims to handle on their own. Speak to a personal injury lawyer for help.