October 29, 2014 • Personal Injury FAQs
You may have an eligible case of personal injury or malpractice that you are suing for damages in the court. But be assured that the defense lawyers will always begin by saying that the settlement you are claiming is way too much for the defendant to pay; even if it is proved fair and square that the accident or injury was not your fault at all.
So why is it that the defense is so eager to always shoot down your claim? It is important to understand here how the negotiation process for a personal injury claim settlement works. You may have a figure in mind which you think fully compensates you for your losses and troubles, which you put forward in court. But there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and it would do you good to be aware of these matters.
What you really need to understand is that the defense’s strategy in a personal injury or malpractice lawsuit will always be to prove that your settlement claim is too high and the figure needs to be brought down. They will also try to approach your lawyer and attempt for an out-of-court-settlement; and these negotiations will keep continuing throughout the litigation process. It is finally up to you to decide whether you would like to fight until the end and place your faith in the court, or if you would like to settle early and go home with an impressive, albeit slightly reduced, settlement.
If you are wondering about what you can do in a situation like this, here are a few pointers
a) Keep Calm and Analyze the Situation
More often than not, we take an offer for a low settlement as a personal affront and react quickly. You need to remember that this is just the beginning of the negotiations process and that you need to maintain a professional demeanor. So calm down, and analyze the offer. Take your lawyer’s advice, ask other experts, and rationalize before you make any sudden moves that can come back to bite you later.
b) Always Respond in Writing
If you are dealing with an insurance company, you can ask questions to the adjuster and evaluate the company’s reasons for offering a lower amount. These responses will help you draft a formal reply to the company’s, or the defendant’s, offer. A written reply helps you keep track of the negotiation process and also gives you the time and opportunity to put across your points in a valid, no-nonsense manner.
c) Formulate Your Counter-Offer Wisely
In some cases, it may be wiser to lay down the sword than to keep battling on. You need to take your personal injury lawyer into confidence and come up with a counteroffer that is valid and reasonable. The back-and-forth can be tiring; so do not give up easily but at the same time, do not have unrealistic expectations that will never hold in court.