The negotiation process for a personal injury claim settlement can be complex. If you are the injured party, you know how much money your family is entitled to, and how much you actually want out of the deal. Likewise, the at-fault party will have some estimation of how much compensation should be paid, as well as the amount that they actually want to pay. This is where negotiation comes in. If you are planning on settling your case instead of going to court, both parties will probably have to compromise. The negotiation process generally goes through similar steps, no matter what the case involves.
The first step that you should take as the injured party is writing a demand letter, which will be sent to the at-fault party. In this letter, you should ask for a high amount of compensation. This is only the first step, and because the defendant’s first offer will probably be unreasonably low, you will have a frame in which to negotiate in.
Once you submit this letter, an insurance adjuster for the defendant’s insurance company will contact you and explain why your claim is too high – perhaps there is a liability issue, or it is believed that some of your treatment was unnecessary. You will then respond to these arguments by defending your claim. At this point, the two parties will begin to concede and compromise the amount of money being offered. The insurance adjuster will generally raise the company’s offer, which you can accept or you can make a counter-demand. This process will continue until both parties reach what they feel is a reasonable compromise.
Preparing for the Negotiation
To prepare for negotiation, make sure that you have evidence to support your claims, such as documents, police reports, bills, receipts, photographs of the accident, eyewitness testimony, etc. This will keep the insurance adjuster from trying to con you into agreeing to a compromise that is too low.
Also, consider how much you would be willing to settle for before the negotiation starts. If you are in a hurry to settle, you might have to concede more money than you would like to. However, if you don’t mind drawing out the negotiation, you can probably get more money.
Patience, Persistence, and Organization
It is important to remain organized while negotiating with the insurance adjuster. If you lose important evidence, it might affect how much compensation you will receive. You should also try to remain patient and persistent. If the adjuster tries to get you to settle by scaring you with the statute of limitations, don’t panic. If you start the process early enough, you will have plenty of time to negotiate and make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Be polite and respectful, but also show that you are persistent, and that you will not settle for a quick, easy compromise.
Hire a Lawyer for Help
The last thing that you can do to make your negotiation run smoothly is to hire a personal injury attorney. Sometimes medical terms and legal laws can get complicated, and having a lawyer on your side who is familiar with these things and who is willing to fight for you can help.