Most legal claims settle through the insurance negotiating process rather than going to trial. A dedicated personal injury attorney can negotiate the best possible settlement for your case.
In the case of compensation, two types of damages can be awarded: economic and non-economic. Economic damages account for medical expenses, loss of income, and other tangible costs. On the contrary, non-economic damages encompass agony, distress, and mental pain.
The Role of the Attorney
Most personal injury claims do not reach trial and are resolved through the negotiated settlement process. Getting the best possible settlement requires much work and preparation, particularly by a dedicated attorney.
A reasonable attorney will start the negotiating process by accurately assessing their client’s accident-related losses, including medical expenses, future economic loss (diminished earning capacity), property damage, and emotional distress. They will also consider other insurance policies, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, that could be available to help offset any out-of-pocket costs.
During the negotiation process, an experienced attorney will push back against insurance companies tactics to limit their payout. This includes demonstrating the validity of their client’s losses, the liable parties’ negligence, and weighing the pros and cons of entering a lawsuit if settlement talks become too contentious. They will also consider the statute of limitations, ensuring that their clients complete the deadline to file a lawsuit. You can click here to learn more about the roles of personal injury attorneys.
Attorneys carefully prepare each case for settlement negotiations by gathering evidence and analyzing the strength of their client’s claims. They consider relevant factors impacting the overall claim value, such as establishing liability and insurance policy limits.
They also document the full extent of their clients’ losses and present a strong argument that warrants compensation. For example, they might compile medical bills and other expenses, such as rental car costs or property damage, to demonstrate the severity of their client’s losses.
Non-economic damages are a big part of personal injury cases, including pain and suffering and diminished earning capacity. To prove these damages, attorneys might use expert witnesses and economic documents to calculate future medical care costs or present wage statements to illustrate the difference between what a client earned before their injuries and what they can now. They may also consult with physicians to ensure that the loss of earnings is related to the accident in question.
The lawyer initiates the negotiation process by dispatching a demand letter to the insurance company. The insurance adjuster will then offer a counteroffer, usually lower than the client requested. There will be back-and-forth negotiations over the phone and email until both parties agree on a settlement amount.
Thorough documentation of losses incurred is also vital to successful personal injury negotiation. This includes documentation of medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
A skilled personal injury lawyer is prepared to discuss all areas of possible settlement negotiations, including the insurance policy, the party at fault, the severity of the injuries, and the treatment received thus far. They will also be prepared to fight any attempts by the insurance company to lowball the claim. If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will guide their clients regarding the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a trial.
While some injury claims may be disputed by the insurance companies, most settle. This can be done before a lawsuit is filed or afterward. The process is usually based on negotiations between the insurance adjuster and an attorney representing the victim.
Thorough case preparation, including comprehensive documentation of the damages incurred, increases the likelihood that an accident victim will receive maximum compensation. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
A personal injury attorney can also reduce the insurance company’s liability by arguing that it was partially at fault for your injuries. The location of the trial can have an impact on your settlement as well. Some venues have conservative juries that award lower injury settlements. The insurance company can also cite state laws, such as contributory negligence, that may significantly reduce your settlement.