Negotiating toward Settlement
If you are handling your case without counsel, please be aware that insurance adjusters will be offering less than they know your case would bring at trial. They take advantage of the fact that you are proceeding without legal advice and representation. They assume that you are interested settling, and they are not inclined to offer what you might win in court since they know you do not intend to go to court. They also assume that you are flying blind and that you do not have research and guidance confirming the true value of your injury claim in a trial setting. Considering these preconceptions, you must be prepared to lock horns with the adjuster to make sure that they truly hear your story, that they consider all evidence favorable to your side, and that they understand that you will hire counsel and proceed to trial if they do not pay a fair settlement.
Even skilled attorneys have to fight with insurance adjusters and insurance carriers to compel proper payment. Insurance companies always seek to limit their consideration of favorable evidence, and they always challenge the validity of all injury claims. They know that few victims truly want to go to court. Thus, they always test the victim with unfair, discounted offers. Rise to this challenge and file suit if a fair settlement offer is not tabled for your benefit.
After submission of the initial settlement demand and full case presentation, insurance adjusters will review your claims documentation and independently value your personal injury case. This process typically takes three to six weeks. After the initial demand is presented, the victim should patiently allow the insurance company to make the next move. If you appear to be in a hurry, your adjuster will assume that you are short on funds. Since the lawsuit process takes approximately twelve months, they know that the hurried victim in need of money now will not have the time to wait for a court date and fair verdict. Do not let any adjuster know that you are in financial difficulty. This will result in severe discounting of insurance settlement offers.
In most cases, the insurance company’s initial offer is less than they will actually pay. They hold money back and seek to settle for the smallest possible amount. Be prepared to aggressively negotiate the injury claim. Stand ready with evidence of similar verdicts. Also, force the adjuster to acknowledge the medical evidence and demonstrate an understanding of the true impact of the injuries on your life. This is the only way to ensure that your offers are fair and proper. If the victim’s payment demand and the insurance carrier’s offer ultimately meet at an acceptable compromised figure, the case can be settled privately. If negotiation results in impasse, the only option for the victim is to conduct a trial and allow a jury to determine the true value of the injury case.