What Is the Negotiation Process? | Personal Injury Attorney Atlanta Georgia | Greathouse Trial Law
The days, weeks and even months following the collision, you've dealt with the initial trauma and chaos surrounding this life altering event. Now comes one of the most critical stages in your case, the all important negotiation process with the at fault party's insurance company. Why is this negotiation dance so important? statistics show that only four to 5% of all personal injury cases ever make it to trial, which means your case has at least a 95% chance of being settled out of court. If this statistic holds true for your case, your settlement amount will be determined in these negotiations. The right point made at the right time can add 1000s to the settlement, while saying or doing the wrong thing can cost you your entire case. For these reasons, your attorney needs to be just as skilled at negotiating as he is with arguing before a judge if not more so. So what can you expect during this process? And what are the various steps the negotiation process technically began when an initial claim is set up with the other party's insurance company, and even your insurance company in some scenarios, which is preferably done by your attorney as soon as possible following the accident. The insurance company responds with the reservation of rights letter that acknowledges the existence of your claim, and promises to investigate it without admitting fault. Of course, once you are done with treatment, and your attorney collects all of your medical records, bills, lost wages and other evidence, you will determine how much to ask for. Your lawyer will send a demand letter detailing the facts of the accident, the estimated cost of damage, medical expenses out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering etc, culminating in what's called a demand for payment. Following the expiration of the time limit on that demand, which is generally set by statute, the insurance companies claim adjuster will typically respond to the demand letter by trying to convince you that your demands for damages are too high for the nature of your accident. The response usually includes a settlement offer that is lower than the demanded amount. In most cases, the insurance company's initial offer is lower than you and your attorney would be willing to accept, at which point your attorney submits a counter offer or a series of counter offers. At some point, the insurance company will submit its final offer for a settlement. Your attorney will advise you on the merits and possible disadvantages of the offer. At this point, you'll decide whether to accept the settlement or file suit to begin the litigation process. While there is no set timeline, depending on the severity and complexity of the accident, most insurance companies take from several weeks to several months, either until you or your attorney believes that you have a good settlement offer or until it is determined that litigation would be a better solution for you. And even if you decide to go into litigation, the settlement negotiations can continue all the way up to when a verdict is reached. You get paid because you're hurt. Not just because you were hit Simply put, if you don't get paid, we don't get paid. I'm Riah Greathouse, Greathouse Trial Law. Contact us to discuss your case.