You need to understand how you and your personal injury lawyer will work together to help you negotiate (out of court) to get the settlement you need and deserve!
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that negotiating a personal injury settlement is a lot like buying an item in a flea market or at your neighbor’s garage sale – there is a lot of ‘haggling’ that is involved. You and the adjuster both have an idea as to what your claim is worth. You and your personal injury lawyer know the settlement amount that is acceptable for you. The insurance adjuster knows the amount the insurance company is willing to pay as a settlement. Now, all of you have to negotiate until all sides agree to an acceptable amount. This is roughly how the negotiations process from a personal injury settlement works.
The negotiations process consists of these steps:
● You send the insurance adjuster a demand letter asking for a very high settlement amount. You have usually discussed this amount with your personal injury lawyer in Pleasant Hill and have had him or her draft the demand letter.
● The insurance adjuster refuses the offer and points out the weaknesses in your claim that justify this refusal. He or she comes up with a lower offer from the insurance company.
● You can either accept this amount but you will likely not because your lawyer will have advised you against doing so. You will probably send another demand letter to the insurance adjuster asking for an amount that is lower than your initial demand but is higher than the adjuster’s initial offer.
● The adjuster increases the offer slightly but keeps it lower than the amount you asked for in your second demand letter.
● You accept the offer. The process continues until you do accept an offer.
The amount of settlement you’ll receive from the insurance adjuster will largely depend on the strengths of your claim. This will, in turn, depend on how well you and your lawyer have worked together to draft the claim or case. The two of you will need to do a thorough investigation and have strong and valid supporting documents to make this happen. The settlement amount will depend on how long you are ‘willing to hold out’ as well. If you accept the first offer, your settlement amount will be much lower than if you decide to negotiate for a higher amount.
When the negotiations process begins
The negotiations process with the insurance adjuster begins immediately after he or she receives your first demand letter. Expect to receive a phone call within a few weeks.
You may receive a right of reservation letter
Don’t panic if you receive this type of letter from the insurance company. This simply states that the insurance company is investigating your claim and is not obligated to pay you anything if the injury is outside of policy coverage.
The negotiations process is not hard
It’s not hard to win the negotiations process now that you understand how it works. This is especially true if you hire a good personal injury lawyer.