In the days, weeks, and months after a car accident, you’ve probably had a lot of interaction with the different parties involved in the accident. Now, your attorney may be telling you that you’re at the most critical step of your case: the negotiation process. This process is crucial for ensuring that you get the compensation you deserve. But what is the negotiation process? And why does it matter?
Why is Negotiation Important?
When workers are injured, they can file a workers’ compensation claim against the company to get the compensation they need to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, in some cases, the injured worker can also file a third-party liability claim against a person or entity who is not the employer or employed by the employer.
Statistics show that only 4-5% of cases make it to trial, which means that your claim has at least a 95% chance of being settled out of court. If this statistic holds true for your case, your attorney will help you determine your settlement amount in these negotiations. These negotiations are necessary because they allow you and your attorney the opportunity to get the compensation that you deserve.
The Negotiation Process
The negotiation process occurs when the at-fault driver’s insurance sits down with you and your attorney to discuss whether you will settle or go to court. This process technically starts when the initial claim is set up with the other party’s insurance company and even your insurance company in some cases.
The insurance company then responds with a Reservation of Rights letter. This letter acknowledges the existence of your claim and promises to investigate it without admitting fault. Once you are out of treatment, your attorney collects all of your medical records, bills, lost wages, and other evidence. You and your attorney can determine how much to ask for with this information.
Your lawyer will send a demand letter detailing the facts of the accident and the estimated costs, which will culminate in a demand for payment. An insurance company’s claims adjuster will typically respond to the demand letter when it expires.
Their response will likely be the adjuster trying to convince you that your demands for damages are too high for the nature of your accident. They will also try to offer you a lower settlement than your demanded amount.
In most cases, the insurance company’s initial offer is lower than you and your attorney are willing to accept. At this point, your attorney will submit a counteroffer.
At some point, the insurance company will submit its final offer for settlement. Your attorney will advise you on the merits and possible disadvantages of the offer. At this point, you’ll decide whether or not to accept the settlement or file a lawsuit to begin the litigation process.
While there is no set timeline for the negotiation process, most insurance companies take several weeks to several months to settle, depending on the accident’s severity. The process will continue until you and your attorney believe that you have a reasonable settlement offer or until you determine that litigation would be a better solution for you.
Even if you decide to go into litigation, the settlement negotiations can continue until the court reaches a verdict.
Contact an Attorney
Due to the complex nature of the negotiation process, it’s critical to contact an attorney. Calling an attorney is the best way to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Here at Greathouse Trial Law, we want to help you understand your rights.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only. It may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other applicable licensing jurisdiction.