When an individual experiences an injury because of another person’s careless or negligence, the injured person has a legal right to be compensated for their losses. The other party may not see things the same way. This difference of opinion could result in a settlement offer that is not acceptable to the injured party. This will start the negotiation process. It could be resolved quickly or take a long time. In extreme cases, it could result in the court system determining the settlement.
Prior to Settlement
Even when a person has a valid personal injury claim, it is best they get as much medical attention as necessary prior to thinking about their settlement. A physician will determine an appropriate treatment plan for the injuries sustained. It is important for an attorney to have as much information as possible concerning the accident victim’s current as well as future medical needs. After a physician has determined the cause, seriousness, as well as duration of the injuries, an attorney will be able to start the process working toward obtaining a fair settlement.
Reservation of Rights Letter
This is a letter that an insurance company will send to an accident victim concerning their claim. It will inform the accident victim the insurance company is investigating their claim. The letter will explain how the insurance company is reserving it’s right to not pay anything on the claim if it discovers the accident is not covered under the insurance policy covering the accident victim. An attorney knows a reservation of rights letter is nothing that should cause any accident victim to worry. The goal of such a letter is to protect the insurance company’s interests by informing an accident victim it only pays what is covered in the insurance policy.
An experienced attorney will have a targeted settlement amount in mind before they contact an insurance company. They will base this on a number of different factors. Future economic loss will cover diminished earning capacity or the ability to earn an income after recovering from the accident. Other factors could be everything from an accident victim’s lost wages to property damage, loss of consortium, medical expenses and more. Once all of the pertinent factors are analyzed, an attorney will know the true value of a case.
An attorney may begin the settlement negotiation process by sending the insurance company a demand letter. This will provide the details of the requested settlement and the reason for the amount. It may end with a statement about going to court if their client does not receive satisfactory compensation for their claim. The next communication between the attorney and insurance adjuster will likely be a phone call.
An attorney will know an insurance policy’s limits and how it impacts obtaining a fair settlement. They will know the insurance company is not able to provide a settlement that is more than the limits of the policy. Many attorneys will ask for the entire amount provided by the policy in the demand letter they send. When the insurance company denies this request, the attorney will ask the reason. This puts the insurance company on the defensive and in a position where they have to explain their reasoning. Dealing with insurance companies can be a difficult process. This is why hiring a skilled personal injury attorney is very important. They will know how to use the insurance company’s reason’s against them and get the best possible settlement amount.
Strengths Of A Claim
An attorney will know how to use the strengths of a claim to their client’s advantage during the settlement negotiation process. An attorney will know the case much better than the insurance adjuster. They will know how the accident impacted their client’s life. Things such as the other driver’s direct violation of a traffic law causing the accident is a benefit. The other driver being intoxicated, distracted or having a history of moving violations all make a case stronger. They will know how to tell an insurance adjuster their offer of compensation for damages is low. An attorney can provide details explaining the reasons. Knowing the strength of a claim is essential for an attorney to obtain the best possible settlement.
When an attorney makes the initial call to an insurance adjuster, each side will discuss their views on the strengths and weaknesses of their proposed settlement amount. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to pay as little as possible for every claim they settle. The initial amount offered by an insurance adjuster will probably be significantly lower than what was requested in the demand letter. An attorney will counter with an offer that is higher than the one provided by the adjuster, but lower than their initial offer. In many cases, a series of phone calls take place between the adjuster and the attorney. They eventually agree on a figure that is between what both of them requested.
Many settlements can be complicated. They could cover a number of issues such as emotional factors, damages, injuries, current as well as future income and more. When the attorney and the insurance adjuster reach a settlement agreement, it will be put in writing. This agreement will show specific amounts to be paid for various causes. It will also have a time when the settlement amount is going to be paid and more. The details of the agreement will be explained to the client prior to them signing off on it.
There are no guarantees when it comes to getting an insurance settlement. It often comes down to being professional and respectful. An insurance adjuster may not show a lot of respect for people who try to negotiate their own settlement. These people won’t have experience and may not understand the laws or the process. An insurance adjuster may be able to easily overwhelm someone with no experience. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the approach insurance adjusters take on a claim. If an insurance adjuster tries to state certain things are required by law, an attorney will know if they’re telling the truth. An attorney will know the process and importance of being aware of all the details concerning a case. They will know how to use this to obtain a fair settlement for their client.