If you're in the midst of settling for a personal injury case, you may be worried about the negotiations process. While the process can certainly be intense, with the right information and attorney on your side, you can get the settlement you deserve. Below are three rules to follow during the negotiations process and how they can help.
Know What You Want from the Start
Never walk into a negotiation without first knowing exactly what you want as this can result in you accepting a lower offer than you deserve.
With the help of your attorney, you'll be able to come up with a minimum settlement amount that you'll accept. This settlement should cover, at the very minimum, medical expenses, damages, lost wages, legal fees, and any other related expenses. Other costs, such as pain and suffering, can be more difficult and time consuming to prove which is why they should only be pursued if you believe you have a solid case.
Communicate Only through Your Lawyer
The responsible party's insurance company or attorney may try to contact you directly, but it's important that all communication happens through your lawyer.
The insurance company and lawyer will want you to settle for as little as possible, and they're willing to play hard ball. This may include outright calling you a liar and using other scare tactics. Instead of dealing with them, come up with a simple line you can repeat until they get the message. Something as easy as, "you may contact my lawyer at xxx-xxx-xxxx" is enough and you aren't required to communicate any further. Any correspondence between the responsible party, their insurance company, and their lawyer should only be done through your lawyer to avoid settling for less or giving out detrimental information.
Know What Documentation You Need
The more proof you have to back up your claims, the more leverage you'll have during the settlement process.
Any and all documentation that backs up your claims, such as police reports, medical records, receipts, and copies of correspondence, should be handed over to your attorney immediately. Your lawyer will be able to give you a more specific list of items needed, as each case is different, but having this information can allow you and your lawyer to push harder for a more favorable settlement offer. For example, if the other side claims you're lying about the extent of your injuries but your medical records back you up, there's not much they can say to falsify it.
While the process of negotiation can be tiring, an experienced personal injury attorney can ensure you get the settlement amount you deserve. To learn more about how you can help during the negotiations, consult with your a personal injury attorney like Gazewood & Weiner PC.