Resolving a personal injury case should be a relief for the injured party, however, this is not always the case. Personal injury cases, which are adversarial by nature, tend to favor one party over the other. The process for reaching a resolution is often unnecessarily drawn out, very complicated, and rarely kind.
A settlement negotiation commonly first occurs between the injured party and an insurance adjuster. The goals of a settlement negotiation are to both resolve the matter and to reach a settlement that better favors one’s own side. For insurance adjusters and defendants, this means getting the injured party to agree to the least amount of money possible. An injured party should be aware of how the negotiation process works in order to avoid falling into this trap.
An injured victim in a personal injury case should always seek medical attention before he or she initiates proceedings for recovering damages, as health is paramount. Moreover, an individual will have a better understanding of the amount of damages he or she will seek after receiving medical treatment. The total cost of medical expenses should be the minimum amount of compensation the injured party should seek to recover. Therefore, it is important to keep detailed and accurate records of all expenses incurred. (This should also include additional expenses such as property damages and lost income, if at all possible.)
The injured party should the submit a written demand letter to the insurance adjuster. This letter should include the reasoning for the demand and the amount of damages sought. An experienced attorney will be able to analyze your case and prepare a carefully-worded demand letter that addresses your needs. Your initial demand should seek an amount of damages greater than you anticipate receiving. This amount should be higher because the opposing party will respond with a counteroffer,1 which is generally far lower than anticipated.
The bulk of the negotiation process occurs as the parties are involved in the exchange of counteroffers. The counteroffers are exchanged as parties move closer to an agreed-upon figure for settlement.
A critical component of the negotiation process also involves the discovery of relevant information. During discovery, the parties seek to obtain evidence through carefully-tailored requests, guided by civil procedure rules.2 This evidence helps paint a clearer picture of the personal injury matter at hand and build cases in favor of their counteroffers.
Drawing Up a Settlement Agreement
Once the parties agree upon a figure, they will need to write a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement contains the conditions that govern the settlement. Here, the parties will agree to not only the settlement amount but also conditions such as a nondisclosure agreement and procedures in the case of a breach, among other things. Parties are always encouraged to have legal counsel carefully review the terms of the settlement agreement before they are agreed on, as the settlement agreement becomes enforceable after signing.
CONTACT A NEW PORT RICHEY PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY TODAY
Personal injury settlement negotiations are a lengthy and complex process. Therefore, it is advisable that you seek experienced legal counsel if you or someone you care about is a party to a personal injury case. The experienced legal team at The Dolman Law Group can review your case, develop and implement a strong legal strategy, and work to reach a highly favorable agreement. Schedule your initial consultation by calling 727-853-6275 today.
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652