Many lawsuits never proceed to the courtroom. They are settled prior to court through negotiation at Mediation or Arbitration meetings with certain involved parties. Negotiation of claims with insurance companies requires even more special knowledge and skillful communication. This is an area of legal process where an experienced California Litigation Attorney is especially helpful to plaintiffs. If you have been injured in an accident and are seeking fair compensation for your claims, this process is an excellent opportunity to save time and money.
Negotiating Insurance Claims
The use of negotiation is used in many cases where insurance companies are part of the overall issue. The insurance company representatives are interested in making the lowest settlement offer possible, but they also want to avoid going further into courtroom litigation. The main reason for this is that they are most interested in saving money and time. In most situations, a settlement prior to court will result in a lower payment for the defendant, so they are interesting in trying this method to resolve disputes. You want to know what your bottom line acceptance offer is, but do not communicate this to the adjuster; you might be able to negotiate for a higher amount.
Legal Representation for Insurance Claims
There are so many variables involved in negotiating with insurance companies that the average person does best when they have an experienced Insurance Claims Attorney working on their behalf to obtain the maximum offer. If anything is left out during these talks, chances are the plaintiff will not be able to add those items back into their list of claims later on. An attorney will be able to catch these types of errors early on, so the demands made during negotiation meetings are truly complete. For serious injuries, it is essential to have an attorney on your side to obtain a fair settlement offer. If negotiation fails, your attorney can continue to represent you during litigation in court.
The Negotiation Process
Getting fair compensation for your accident injuries begins immediately in most cases. One step to get things going is to send a demand letter to the appropriate defendant, either the person who caused the accident and/or their insurance company. When you are trying to work with insurance companies, they will respond to your demands, and then you either accept their offer or continue the negotiation process. They will offer you a low amount; you can continue trying to get a higher offer, or move to the next step, having your attorney moderate a formal negotiation meeting or conduct mediation.
As you work with the insurance adjuster, all topics will be discussed and argued. Again, having an attorney represent your best interests will help you at every step of this process. They have the experience and special knowledge needed to help convince the insurance company to make a reasonable offer to settle the case.
For successful negotiations, there are several things to remember as you are in these meetings:
- Have all documentation organized and ready to show as needed.
- Be polite and courteous – being aggressive or obnoxious will not be helpful.
- Don’t jump at the first offer; the adjuster may be trying to use your impatience and frustration against your best interests.
- Stay calm and be persistent – do not give up or in easily. You can always take time to discuss offers with your attorney and family to decide whether or not to agree to the adjuster’s counteroffer.
- Don’t let them put you off indefinitely. Get an agreement in writing for a firm offer date. Let them know that if they miss this date, you will then proceed with litigation.
What you put into your settlement request should include all current and expected future expenses related to your accident injuries and damage claims. Items to discuss include insurance coverage, liability issues, your injury specifics and expectations of need for future medical care, and related work issues such as income loss, disability needs, rehabilitation and retraining, lost future income. Take notes and get documentation for all agreements.
Settlements and Litigation
Early settlements can be wonderful and very helpful to you financially. However, it never is good to settle too early and for too little. This is another area where your experienced California Accidents Attorney can help you made informed decisions about insurance company offers. The negotiation process allows you time and opportunity to try to come to an agreeable solution that meets your current and future financial needs to take care of all accident related matters.
A good portion of personal injury lawsuits are settled before they go before a judge and/or jury in a courtroom. The main reason for this is because it is economically advantageous to the defendant to settle early and for as little as possible. A jury is always an unknown; no one knows how those 12 people will feel about a case or the people or companies involved, and no one can predict how a jury will rule on a case. They may levy punitive damages in some situations, and those fines can be very high. Settlement also reduces costs for legal services on both sides.
An attorney can act as a friendly mediator in negotiations, being impartial as they conduct the sessions, or they can act as a judge in binding arbitration, where they do hand down the verdict. They will still be on your side as they offer advice about your case, and represent you in all legal matters. Once you get an offer, it is only final if you accept it and get a signed agreement. You can continue negotiations even if their offer is about what you wanted; you may decide you need a bit more. If you do ask for more, be sure to support it with your reasons for asking for more. Finally, if negotiation fails, you can have your attorney go forward with litigation.