The goal of settlement talks in personal injury lawsuits is to receive the highest compensation possible for your injuries and losses. Your injury claim settlement amount will likely rely on a variety of things. An accomplished personal injury attorney can help negotiate a speedy and reasonable settlement with the insurance provider for your case.
Typical Concerns in Settlement Negotiations
Disputes that emerge during settlement talks often concern the policy’s coverage area. The insurance provider may attempt to interpret its provisions more narrowly than you do. Since the insurer was responsible for designing the procedure, you should be mindful that ambiguities will likely not be read in your favor. The three most frequent conflicts are:
- Determining if the policy covers the injuries
- The severity of the injuries
- The reason behind the accident
Additionally, an insurer may not accept the injuries you claim to have had and the necessary medical care. For this reason, you should carefully record the aftermath of the collision and provide this information to your insurance agent. When a victim’s pre-existing ailments were made worse by the event, it increases the likelihood of a disagreement over “injuries” or treatment.
How to Conduct Settlement Discussions
Throughout discussions, there are a few key things to bear in mind. Before filing your first demand letter, you should thoroughly evaluate the worth of your claim. This entails assigning a monetary value to medical expenses, missed wages, future treatment costs, and personal losses such as pain and suffering.
Additionally, you must determine the minimum amount you will consider to settle your claim, but you should not discuss this information with the insurer.
Document the Negotiations
Throughout the process, you should be kind, patient, and methodical, keeping note of what the insurance has stated and holding it accountable for any commitments made, but without allowing your emotions to interfere with talks. Obtain answers to your inquiries about injury claims from a personal injury lawyer on Long Island.
You Can Do Better Than the First Offer
In most cases, the insurer’s first proposal will not be enough and is a negotiating tactic. If the offer exceeds your expectations or is near the bare minimum you would take, this may indicate that you have undervalued your claim.
If you think the offer is substantially too low, which is probable, you should determine why the insurer feels your case is worth less than you expected and start working on countering the offer. You may not want to considerably reduce the amount in your next demand letter unless you believe the insurer’s explanations are valid.
The Letter of Reservation of Rights
Some accident victims who get this communication from their insurance companies are worried or bewildered. However, a letter reserving rights is very usual.
The letter only says that the insurer is reviewing the claim but is not obligated to pay if the policy does not cover the accident. This is a strategy to get an insurance company off the hook if settlement discussions have begun with the victim.
Talking to Your Insurer in Negotiations
It may be necessary for accident victims to make claims against their insurance in some circumstances, such as incidents brought on by uninsured or underinsured drivers. You should look into your insurance’s exact conditions and ensure you abide by any guidelines it may present.
For instance, you may be required to inform the insurer of the claim within a specified timeframe and obtain permission for medical data and income records. You should avoid authorizing releases for anything irrelevant to the lawsuit, and you may restrict the scope of your authorization for this reason.
Independent medical examinations (IMEs), which an insurer may ask an insured person to undergo, may give rise to disputes. An insurer may request a limited number of IMEs, and the insurer must pay for each. These IMEs should only focus on the injuries you claim to have suffered.
A Lawyer Can Help You Negotiate
Damages for future lost wages and continuous medical treatment increase when a disability is permanent. The specifics of your situation will determine your claim’s value. Working with a lawyer will increase your chances of accessing the financial help you need to rebuild your life.