When trying to get compensation for their clients, personal injury attorneys will typically end up negotiating settlements with insurers or liable parties. Although the details of the cases involved will change dramatically, the process of each will often follow a similar series of actions and steps before a settlement is ultimately reached.
Here is what those steps may look like:
A Demand Letter Is Sent
After meeting with their client and investigating the circumstances of their injury, a personal injury lawyer will then craft what is known as a demand letter to start the claims process.
Whether sent to a liable party or their insurance carrier, this demand letter lays out the full amount of compensation an injury victim feels entitled to along with the justification for the amount. It will frequently include documentation of the incident and the costs incurred from the resulting injury.
A personal injury attorney will often demand the highest amount possible to which their client could be entitled, including the maximum coverage available under an insurance policy, all medical costs and “general damages” that include loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other such secondary costs of an injury.
The Other Party Responds
Upon receiving the demand letter, very few if any defending parties will respond with a check for the full requested amount.
Instead, they will likely respond with a list of discrepancies regarding your claim. They may assert that the circumstances you described differ from the evidence they have available, or they may dispute that your claimed medical costs accurately reflect the costs of treating your injury.
If your attorney can clarify these points or provide support that your case has sufficient evidentiary weight, the other party will then respond with their first counter-offer. This offer is likely to be incredibly low. The idea is that the other party wants to see how you react, hoping you will accept an amount far lower than they think you could get in the hopes that you want the process to end quickly.
Personal Injury Attorneys Respond and Negotiate in Turn
Once the first counter-offer has been received by your attorney, they will respond again with a counter offer of their own. This offer may be lower than the initial high amount listed in the demand letter, but you and your attorney must decide together how much you are willing to lower it. Strong cases will lower their initial demand only marginally, while those who feel their case may be not as strong could attempt to meet the offer somewhere in the middle.
Then, you and the allegedly liable party will respond back and forth until a settlement agreement can be reached.
Attorneys generally advise their clients to be patient and trust that they have the facts on their side in order to get the highest amount available. Frequently, the defending side or their insurance adjuster will wish to save money by eventually ending negotiations and settling for a fair amount. Other times, neither party can agree, and the injury victim may have to move forward with an actual trial in order to secure the compensation to which they are entitled.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an incident and want a team of experienced personal injury attorneys to negotiate aggressively in order to help you seek the maximum amount of compensation possible, then contact us today using the number above or the convenient online form to the side to receive a free case evaluation.