Don't Settle For Less: What To Know About Settlement Negotiations And Your Personal Injury Case


If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you may already know about the compensation you are entitled to receive. Commonly, you can expect to receive your medical expenses and a vehicle repair or replacement from the at-fault driver's insurance company, but missing from that compensation package is any consideration for your pain and suffering. You are entitled to be paid money damages for the emotional impact of the accident on you and your family's life, so read on to learn about the key issues in negotiating a fair settlement that includes payment for your pain and suffering.

The Demand Letter

The first step in the process for getting compensation is the demand letter. This letter lets the other side know about your injuries and asks for a dollar amount in damages. Samples of good demand letters abound, but generally you should take a respectful and professional tone and take care to include the following points in your letter:

  • Why you feel the other party is at fault.
  • A list of all medical treatments and the dollar amount of them, so far.
  • The effect that the accident has had on you and your family, including the emotional effect.
  • A summary of your lost wages, so far.
  • A list of all physical evidence you have, such as the accident report, photos, witness statements, etc.
  • The demand itself: the dollar amount you are asking to be paid to settle the case out of court, right now. Be sure to make this amount a little higher to leave some wiggle room when you begin negotiations.

Negotiating Tips

Negotiations often take place over the phone. The insurance adjuster for the other side will set the appointment up in advance, so you will have time to be prepared for the call.

  • Make sure that you have your notes in front of you and all related paperwork.
  • Be prepared for the adjuster to present you with an initial "low ball" offer that is meant to test your desperation for settling. Taking this first offer could save you some time and stress, but will end up costing you a potential fair settlement in the long run.
  • Counter that low offer with an amount that is a higher than the offer, but a little lower than the amount in your demand letter.
  • If you feel negotiations stalling and the adjuster not budging, speak up and question the adjuster about the lower figure being offered. You may learn that the insurance company has reason to believe that you share some fault with the other driver, which means that you might need to lower your expectations.
  • Don't hesitate to discuss the impact of the accident on your life and the manner that your family has been affected as well. Appealing to the adjuster in a calm and well-thought out manner could positively impact your offer, since you are actually giving the adjuster a preview of how your testimony could win over a jury or judge in a personal injury trial.
  • Be sure to keep a bottom line amount in mind during this process, and don't be afraid to end the call when negotiations seem to be at a standstill.

Negotiating with a professional and experienced insurance adjuster can be extremely stressful, especially when you consider the importance of a good settlement offer. Allow a personal injury attorney to take this burden from you and ensure that you are the recipient of a fair offer for your injuries.


30 March 2016

Staying Strong During A Legal Battle

When you are involved in a messy car accident, things can get complicated fast. In addition to proving who was at fault, you might also have to worry about healing. However, you don't have to endure long phone calls and complicated insurance paperwork on your own. Hiring an attorney is the key to remaining strong during the aftermath of a car accident. As you think about your own situation, try to figure out if you can do things on your own. If you feel like you need a little help, don't be afraid to talk with an attorney. The information on this website should help you to decide how legal counsel can help you.