Are You Negotiating an Injury Lawsuit?
If you’ve sustained injuries in a car or other accident that was not your fault, your troubles may only be just beginning. While you receive medical treatment and recover, you will also be involved with negotiating a settlement with an insurance company. You can go it alone, but it might require help. In this post, we explore the dos and don’ts of injury lawsuit negotiations. Obviously, the goal will be to recover the maximum compensation for your claim.
Hiring an Attorney
If you sustained serious and permanent injuries, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney for your injury lawsuit negotiations. Most personal injury attorneys don’t work for free however. Depending on the jurisdiction, many can take up to 40% of the settlement when all is said and done.
The good news is that since attorneys work on a percentage of the recovery, it is in their best interests to get you the maximum amount available under the law. When you pay a lawyer for their time and expertise, you also pay for their experience in pursuing claims for their clients. They will likely know what juries have awarded similar plaintiffs in the past and use this information to persuade insurance companies and their attorneys that settlement is in everyone’s best interests.
How You Should Handle Injury Lawsuit Negotiations
Lawyers may share the same thoughts as listed below but if you’re still deciding whether to hire an attorney, consider the following when negotiating your injury lawsuit.
Keep It in Writing
Any and all negotiations, agreements, medical bills, and correspondence should be kept in writing. Do not trust your memory on these things, nor the word of your opponents while negotiating. Make sure you save copies and send all relevant documents to the appropriate parties.
Reject Initial Offers
Insurance companies will likely be defending against your claim. Their job is to pay you as little as possible. Thus, low-ball settlement offers are a common part of injury lawsuit negotiations and should be rejected as a matter of course. Insurers will likely offer more money as the case progresses.
Demand More Than You Might Take in Settlement
Consider demanding a large amount as compensation for your injuries, lost wages and other personal injury damages. In order for a settlement to occur, both sides must compromise. By leaving room in the amount you are willing to accept, you allow the injury lawsuit negotiations to continue. Hopefully, you will meet somewhere in the middle and a settlement will be reached.
Hire a Lawyer for Injury Lawsuit Negotiations
Like we mentioned above, attorney fees can take a significant portion of a personal injury settlement. Yet, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer for your injury lawsuit negotiation can be money well spent. This is because lawyers generally collect larger settlements amounts than individual “pro se” claimants. This is true for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the insurance company knows if there is an attorney involved, you will likely prevail at trial. This is the ultimate leverage for claimants because it is risky on both sides to let 12 strangers decide who is at fault for an accident and how much money injuries are worth.
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What You Should Avoid When Negotiating
Just as important as what you should do in negotiations is what not to do. Below, we examine what you should avoid when conducting injury lawsuit negotiations.
Don’t Trust Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters (those who are charged with negotiating a settlement prior to a lawsuit being filed) are employed by the insurance company to assess the value of the potential loss/claim. They may be the first people who you come into contact with after you make your claim. Most are pleasant and polite and may have you believing they are here to help you. But their job is to save the insurance company money. It is up to you to decide whether to trust what an insurance representative says, but do so at your own risk.
Don’t Skip Medical Treatment
The first thing you should do after an accident is to seek medical treatment. However, if the doctor says that you must return for additional treatment, you should do so. If you fail to treat, the defense will try to make it look like your injuries are not severe and permanent. This could adversely affect your injury lawsuit negotiations.
Don’t Divulge Your Bottom Line
You might be tempted to tell insurance adjusters the number you are willing to accept as settlement. Resist this temptation. These are professionals and while your case is the most important in your life, insurers deal with these claims all day, every day. After all, this is the business they are in. There is an old adage in negotiations, “the first one to say a number loses.
Don’t Accept an Offer Right After it is Made
Not only should you reject the initial offer, you should not be in any rush to accept any offer right after it is made. You might be tempted to accept a settlement immediately, especially if you are under financial strain. Don’t let urgency cloud your judgement. You have options – like lawsuit funding for example.
Don’t Take Injury Lawsuit Negotiations Personally
A personal injury claim may be “personal” to you but your claims is only one of thousands in the insurer’s claims pipeline. Insurance professionals are very experienced with injury lawsuit negotiations and processing these claims. They simply have no personal interest in how an individual claim is handled.
Claimants/plaintiffs face a more difficult situation since the injury and damages affect their own lives. While it might be understandable to feel impatient or even frustrated with the process, you should never lose your temper. Doing so will hinder your efforts and usually leads to more delays. Whenever possible, use an attorney who can speak on your behalf.
Takeaways – Personal Injury Lawsuit Negotiations
Fair Rate Funding is a lawsuit funding company which helps plaintiffs who need immediate cash to meet some urgent need. Many plaintiffs utilize lawsuit funding to endure a sometimes long, drawn out legal process. By securing funds to meet immediate financial obligations, lawsuit loans provide plaintiffs the financial support to reject the low-ball settlement offers that most insurers routinely offer during injury lawsuit negotiations.
Regardless of how you handle the lawsuit negotiation process, Fair Rate Funding remains as plaintiff advocates helping litigants in their pursuit of justice.
Thank you for your interest in Fair Rate Funding.
To learn more about how we can assist you during your negotiations, please contact our offices for a free consultation today.