It’s not easy to reach a settlement with an insurance company or with the opposing party’s lawyer. If you’ve been injured in an accident, are dealing with a workplace injury, or fighting for compensation following the wrongful death of a family member, you are on a long, complex journey. That’s where either a personal injury attorney can help.
If you’re involved in a lawsuit, it’s highly likely that it will be settled out of court because over 92% of civil cases never see a courtroom. Knowing a few tips on how to reach a favorable settlement will help you during the lengthy process.
Suggestions for Settlement
Regardless of the nature of your case, you should be an active decision maker in the settlement. The outcome will be greatly influenced by your mindset, your actions and your ability to compromise. You may have to give in to a settlement less than you had hoped for, or you may have to continue to aggressively pursue the litigation in order to show the other side you mean business. Reaching a settlement takes time and patience, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the counsel of an experienced attorney or arbiter on your side.
The most common types of settlements involve insurance companies agreeing to compensate an injured party. If you are involved in settlement negotiations with an insurance company (whether your own or the defendant’s), you may want to follow these tips:
- Don’t get emotional. Staying calm and logical throughout the negotiation process serves you better than getting irate, impatient and insistent in the long run. Insurance company representatives are much more likely to communicate with people who are calm and rational as opposed to reactive and confrontational. You have heard the slogan, “Never let them see you sweat.” In a similar vein, never let them know how anxious or eager you are about the settlement.
- Have a number in mind early in the process and keep it to yourself (or only share it with the people on your “side”). Be realistic and have a range you’re willing to consider. It will be a longer, more painful settlement process if you have an outrageous number in your mind and refuse to budge in negotiations.
- Don’t jump at the first offer; if you do, this will tell the insurance adjuster or whoever is offering the amount that you are going to be “easy” and that you probably don’t realize how much compensation you truly deserve.
- Be willing to negotiate within reason. If you are thrown a low ball offer, don’t counter with a number that is ridiculously high. Be reasonable about what you expect to get and listen to the advice of your attorney who has experience in evaluating cases like yours.
- If the initial offer is low, ask the adjuster for a justification on the low number he came up with and know the lingo. Again, this requires you to be well prepared by having done your homework.
- Get everything in writing and keep detailed notes throughout the settlement negotiations.
- Use emotional points when applicable. For instance, if your spouse lost his life in a car accident, there’s nothing wrong with you reminding the other side of how much you have suffered, how much your life has changed, and how your children’s lives have been irrevocably impacted by the loss of their beloved parent. Appeal to emotions when it’s appropriate.
Please follow these settlement tips if you’re working on your own behalf on an accident settlement. However, if you have a significant claim, it is almost always in your best interest to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.