If you want help learning how to negotiate a personal injury settlement, you can ask a lawyer to walk you through the steps, which include:
- Collecting proof of your injuries and the at-fault party’s liability
- Calculating the monetary worth of your injuries and losses
- Determining how much of your losses the at-fault party should cover
- Sending a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurer
- Meeting with insurance representatives
Proving You Deserve a Personal Injury Settlement
NRS § 11.190(4)(e) gives personal injury survivors the right to start pursuing a settlement within two years of the injury. Before you contact the insurance company with your demands, however, it is a good idea to strengthen your case as much as possible with evidence from:
- Medical Professionals, including your medical records and statements from qualified physicians
- Cameras, including surveillance video footage or photos you took of your injuries
- Local authorities (if the police were called to the accident scene and filed a report)
- Eyewitnesses, including those who saw the accident or tried to render assistance after the fact
A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you find the evidence you need to demonstrate not just how serious your injuries are, but the fact that they would not have occurred if not for the at-fault party’s negligence.
Calculating a Fair Settlement
You naturally want to maximize your personal injury settlement so you receive proper compensation for all of your losses, including:
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or earning capacity
- Property damage
If you are suing on behalf of a deceased loved one, you may have to calculate different types of damages, such as funeral expenses or loss of companionship. Calculating damages can be complicated. To get a fair settlement, you must include both present injuries and reasonable estimates of how much your injuries may cost in the future. You must also determine how much your physical and psychological suffering is worth in financial terms.
Who Pays Your Personal Injury Settlement?
The evidence you collect should also prove who is responsible for your injuries and, therefore, whose insurance company should cover your settlement. Some cases involve only one at-fault party, while others may involve two or more.
It is important to note that the liable party or parties may not have to cover 100 percent of your damages. For example, the evidence may show that your injuries were worsened because your car was not in good repair, or that the accident happened in part because you weren’t watching where you were going.
Discoveries like this might reduce your settlement, but you could still have a right to compensation. A lawyer can work out the details.
Asking for a Personal Injury Settlement
Once you and your lawyer have completed all of these tasks, it may be time to actually negotiate a personal injury settlement.
Your (or your lawyer’s) first action may be to send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This letter includes details like:
- A description of the accident and the injuries you sustained because of it
- How the at-fault party’s actions caused or worsened your injuries
- How much money you’ve lost or expect to lose because of the at-fault party’s actions
- How much money you expect the insurer to pay you
- What actions you will take if you don’t receive a reasonable offer from the insurer
Upon receiving your demand letter, the insurance company may take one of three actions:
- They may agree to your demands right away and pay what you asked for.
- They may make a counteroffer, and you can negotiate for something better.
- They may refuse to cooperate, and you may have to determine your next steps.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement
If the insurance company is open to negotiations, your lawyer can arrange a date and place to meet with their representatives. Insurance companies often protect their interests by hiring lawyers and well-trained insurance adjusters. You may therefore find it helpful to allow your legal representative to:
- Accompany you in negotiations, or go in your place
- Lay out your case for damages, including presenting the evidence that justifies what you asked for
- Use that same evidence to refute the insurer’s attempts to deflect blame or downplay your injuries
- Force them to try to justify offering a lower settlement despite the evidence showing you deserve more
Negotiations can go back and forth for a while, with parties making offers and counteroffers. If successful, negotiations end with your lawyer drawing up a settlement agreement. Once you sign this agreement, you can expect a check from the insurer.
What if You Cannot Get a Settlement?
Settlements are usually the fastest and most satisfactory way for all involved parties to end a lawsuit. However, even if your lawyer has experience with negotiating personal injury settlements, your case could still end up in court for any number of reasons.
Some court cases may still end in a settlement if the insurer decides to negotiate at the last minute before the trial begins. However, if this does not happen, you can have your lawyer represent you in court by:
- Submitting trial exhibits
- Selecting jury members
- Questioning witnesses
- Presenting oral arguments
You cannot be sure ahead of time whether you will be able to obtain a settlement or not. For this reason, it is a good idea to ensure your lawyer has courtroom experience before you hire them. That way, you can be prepared for any eventuality and avoid complications, like having to hire another lawyer partway through the case.
We Negotiate Personal Injury Settlements
If you are unsure how—or if you have the energy to negotiate a personal injury settlement, De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers can help. Our team would be glad to take care of all the hard work associated with seeking a settlement, including looking for evidence and speaking directly with the insurance company. Contact our office to schedule your free consultation today.