For personal injury cases, the claim can be resolved through a settlement, especially when there’s no dispute about legal responsibility or liability, for an accident that hurt you. Nonetheless, before reaching the settlement stage, you first need to submit a compensation demand from the other party’s insurer. And to make the right demand, you need to determine the value of your case.
Moreover, once the process of settlement negotiation begins to heat up in the injury case, you need to have a proper strategy in place. To help with that, here are a few tips to start.
1. Determine your Settlement Amount
When putting together your settlement demand, you should figure out a range of what you believe your claim will be worth. Have a minimum settlement figure in a range that you can comfortably accept. Don’t reveal this to your adjuster, it’s for your own information. When the figure starts to go back and forth, it’ll help if you have a bottom line in mind, to avoid making a snap decision if the adjuster makes you a take-it-or-leave-it offer.
However, you don’t have to hold on to the figure you had originally set for yourself. If the adjuster provides an insight on some facts you had probably overlooked, it’s better to adjust you claim accordingly.
2. Avoid the First Offer
Insurance adjusters usually begin their negotiations by offering very low amounts, and even denying liability altogether, as a standard practice. This tactic is used by the adjuster to determine whether you are aware of how much your claim is worth, and take advantage of those that are impatient to take any amount of money offered.
As such, when an offer is made, your first response will depend on whether it’s a reasonable offer to you. If it’s favorable, you can make a counteroffer immediately for an amount a bit lower than what you demanded. This will show the adjuster that you are reasonable, and you will be willing to compromise.
3. Have the Adjuster Justify a Low Offer
When the adjuster makes an offer that’s too low, ask them to give you specific reason why they have made such a low offer. Take note of the conversation, and write to them responding to each of the factors mentioned. Depending on the strength of the adjuster’s points, you may slightly lower the demand. But be careful not to lower it too far, wait and see if the adjuster will budge when they receive your reply.
4. Know When to Engage a Lawyer
If the negotiations are not going as you would have hoped, then you might consider consulting a lawyer. As a rule of thumb, you should contact a Schrueders Compensation Lawyer if your compensations demands are for serious injuries and pain beyond a few thousand dollars, if there’s a question of fault, and if you’re seeking future damages.
5. Have the Settlement in Writing
When you have finally agreed on a number with the adjuster, you should immediately confirm an agreement in a letter. The letter to the adjuster can be brief, and include all of the necessary details.
In general, if you make a good impression during your deposition, the adjuster will have a greater chance of making a fair settlement, so that your case can be resolved out of court.