Once a settlement amount has been decided upon, it is important to immediately put it in writing.
After being injured in an accident, you should get legal representation to fight for your rights and recover the compensation you deserve. Through an investigation into the accident and with information on hand regarding your medical expenses and loss of income, as well as an amount to cover your pain and suffering, you and your accident attorney will come up with a number for the personal injury settlement you expect to receive. However, despite knowing how much you consider a fair amount for your injuries, it is always a good idea to have a smart strategy to get the best personal injury settlement. Here are some tips on how to go about it:
Don’t Accept the First Offer
This is probably the first time that you have had to negotiate with an insurance company over a settlement amount for an accident. If this is so, you need to be aware of the fact that they will start by giving you a lowball offer in the hopes that you will accept it and walk away.
Now is when it is important to have your lawyer by your side. An expert negotiator, your attorney has the necessary tools and information to negotiate on your behalf. You may have to make a counteroffer and see how they respond and negotiate further until both parties accept an amount.
Stress Important Points in Your Favor
Reminding the adjuster of some details related to the accident may also get you a good result. If there was evidence that the other driver was drinking (because a beer can was found in their car), now is a good time to remind the insurance adjuster about it. If your child has suffered getting to and from school because the damage to your car is such that it’s been in the shop for some time, bring that subject up also. Anything that may have an emotional impact on the adjuster may result in a higher offer.
Don’t Reduce Your Amount Twice
Getting back to your insurance adjuster with a lower number before they have come back to you with a response is not a good bargaining strategy. Wait until you are contacted again, and if they still don’t come up with the number you are expecting, ask them why and then go over each one of their arguments. You may actually get them to admit that their offer is not reasonable based on solid facts.
Use Strong Arguments
Your lawyer will remind the insurance adjuster why you are demanding compensation that includes pain and suffering. If your claim also includes future income lost or future medical treatments that you know you will require, remind them about this as well. Finally, if there is a question of fault, your attorney will present a convincing argument about this point.
Get the Settlement Offer in Writing
Once a settlement amount has been decided upon, it is important to immediately put it in writing. If the insurance company does not do it, your injury lawyer can draft a short letter stating that an agreement has been reached and quoting the agreed-upon amount. With a good negotiation strategy, you may find that the final amount you receive is higher than the one you had originally expected.
J. Dallo is the founder and principal attorney of Dallo Law based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, which specializes in immigration, criminal and cannabis law.