If you are the victim of a personal injury accident, then the first thing you should do is contact proper legal representation. You can technically handle the claim on your own, but that is not advisable. If you do, then you likely will not get the compensation you deserve. If you have an attorney on your side, though, you will have a better chance of being compensated properly.
Even if you hire an attorney, it is a good idea to understand how the settlement negotiations process will proceed. Sometimes, personal injury cases do go to court, but most of the time, they will be settled beforehand, and that saves everyone time and money. So, here is what you need to know about negotiating settlements.
The first thing you and your attorney will need to do is calculate damages. These are the damages that you need to have paid through compensation from the injury. They can include:
• Lost Wages
• Lost Capacity to Earn
• Medical Bills
• Funeral Expenses
• Damage to Property
These are all referred to as special damages and should be where you and your attorney start. It’s vital to get a solid number before trying to negotiate a settlement so that you can ensure you get the money you deserve.
Calculating General Damages
There is another category of damages called general. These are non-economic losses and they can vary greatly because you won’t have concrete bills. General damages can include:
• Pain and Suffering
• Shock and Mental Anguish
• Damage to Reputation
• Loss of Companionship
• Emotional Stress
• Loss of Consortium
Your attorney will help you determine how much to seek in general damages.
Make Adjustments to the Claim
There are some things that can change the value of your claim, such as who the defendants are, the liability, mitigating damages, etc. Your attorney will need to help you determine any value adjustments that need to be made.
Making the Settlement Offer
The next step is to submit a settlement demand letter to the defendant or their insurance company. At this point, there could be a great deal of negotiation as things go back and forth. If you and the other party can come to an agreement, then the settlement will be complete. If you can’t, then the claim will go before a judge.
Going through the settlement process will be a lot less stressful than going to court. However, you should never settle for less than you deserve in compensation. That’s why it is so important to seek the help of a personal injury attorney. You could be facing one other lawyer or even a team of lawyers that the insurance company has hired. This is not something you will want to manage on your own. A personal injury attorney will have the experience and knowledge needed to ensure you get the right amount of compensation, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less. To make sure things go properly, hire a personal injury attorney to look after your rights.