The Personal Injury Lawyer’s Guide to Car Accident Settlement Negotiations

car accident settlement negotiationsThe majority of Fox Law car accident cases are settled through car accident settlement negotiations. Therefore, although it is very important to choose a talented personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the litigation process, you should also be looking for a personal injury lawyer who is a good communicator and skilled in settlement negotiations. Retaining a dedicated Philadelphia car accident lawyer who is skilled in both settlement negotiations and trial law, is crucial for a victim who has been seriously injured.

Car accident settlement negotiations may benefit both parties.

Settlement negotiations may represent the best interest of the victim as well as the insurance company.  If attorneys can reach a settlement agreement, it can significantly reduce the amount of time and expense required to fight the claim through a trial. It also allows the victim’s ability to focus on recovery and to move on with their life.

First settlement offer usually under-values the claim.

If settlement negotiations are an option, this might enable you to get an outcome and resolution for your case sooner rather than later. However, it is often the case that the first offer presented by the other side is unacceptable. The offer may not fully cover your current and future expenses. It may also under-value your claim. Having a personal injury lawyer walk you through this phase empowers you with the right information about how to respond and advise you when a settlement offer might be fair.

#1 Reason to retain a personal injury lawyer immediately

The negotiation process begins shortly after you have initiated a claim to your car insurance company. The basics of negotiating a car insurance claim with an adjuster after an injury or an accident can be very difficult for a victim to comprehend, particularly if this is the first time you have been involved in a vehicle crash.

Not knowing where to turn and recognizing some of the mistakes that you can make early in the process could expose you to unnecessary challenges or obstacles. In many cases, a victim might not be aware of the level of compensation related to their damage worth. However, you must be willing to negotiate with an insurance company adjuster.

The adjuster is likely to have a great deal of more experience in handling these kinds of issues than you. And an adjusters primary job is to keep the insurance company’s payment obligation as low as possible.

Since neither party knows how much the other side is willing to pay or receive, the process of testing one another for settlement negotiations can occur over the course of phone calls. You might think you can handle your settlement negotiations on your own. Then, when you do not receive an offer that you find acceptable, you might reach out to retain a knowledgeable Philadelphia car accident attorney to assist you with the remainder of the process. Unfortunately, you must be very careful what you say to adjusters. In the process of attempting to handle your own settlement negotiations, you risk doing serious damage to your claim.

What to expect in your initial consultation with a car accident lawyer.

During an initial consultation with a Philadelphia car accident attorney, you might ask what your case is worth and demand a high amount for your injury and damages. However, there are many undetermined factors that may significantly change the value of your claim. It will take time to determine the true value of your claim. Therefore, a car accident lawyer with integrity will not make false promises as to the value of your case in your initial consultation.

When to begin car accident settlement negotiations?

Your Philadelphia car accident attorney should begin settlement negotiations as soon as possible after you have been medically cleared from the accident. To begin negotiations before your injuries are fully understood will under value your claim. You might also have substantial damages in the form of lost wages and medical expenses.

Honesty is the best policy in car accident settlement negotiations.

Being honest about your prior medical conditions is the best policy when involved in car accident settlement negotiations. Prior medical conditions do not preclude you from compensation for your injury. And our legal system accepts you as you are. Therefore, if you are fragile and easily susceptible to injury, our legal system will not hold this against you. You can be compensated for your injury, or the exacerbation of a preexisting condition. Providing false or misleading information, however, will result in your lack of credibility in every other statement you make going forward. Insurance companies will find all of your prior medial records. Being untruthful, or deceitful by omission, will seriously hurt your claim. A good personal injury attorney will know how to best handle settlement negotiations for a victim with a prior medical condition.

Car accident settlement negotiations start with a demand letter.

When your attorney has analyzed any comparative negligence, injury, and expenses associated with your case, he or she will put together a formal letter for the insurance company. This is known as a demand letter.

The insurance adjuster will then receive this information and inform you about what they believe is wrong with your claim. There could be questions about your involvement in physical therapy or concerns over liability. It is your job to take all the correspondence from the insurance company seriously and respond to them promptly. This is your opportunity to respond to these arguments and having a Philadelphia car accident attorney who has handled this for other clients before will make it that much easier for you to navigate the process.

Through this back and forth correspondence, negotiations might occur that could move you closer to a final settlement. You might be willing to concede based on the strength of the adjuster’s arguments and put forth another demand that is slightly lower than your original one or the insurance adjuster could increase the company’s offer.

Evaluating Settlement Offers vs. Going to Trial

It is impossible to predict how any one judge or court will view your case. It’s also hard to tell what evidence or resources the other side will exert in defending their position during litigation.

Because of the unpredictability of going to trial, most insurance settlement negotiations are based on a compromise. In most cases, neither party walks away a complete winner. The injured plaintiff might end up accepting less than what was stated in their demand letter. The insurance company or other involved party might end up paying more than they expected.

Parties interested in resolving their case might be willing to accept a guaranteed settlement offer that seems fair, even if not ideal, rather than going through the lengthy process of litigation and a trial, with an uncertain outcome. A trial might result in a defense verdict or an award could be less than a settlement offer.

Common Areas of Questions or Disputes Related to Adjusters

An insurance adjuster has the right as well as the responsibility to dispute facts and ask questions to try to minimize your compensation. It is important to be prepared for this and to have evidence to support your arguments. Your lawyer should do a lot of the work putting together evidence in your claim that can help you to navigate these complexities.

Some of the most common disputes or questions that emerge in a negotiations process include:

  • The extent of your injuries
  • Who was at fault?
  • Whether or not the insurance policy covers the accident
  • The extent and nature of medical treatment

Being persistent, patient, and organized can significantly help you when interacting with the insurance company adjuster.

Too busy taking care of your injury to handle your own car accident settlement negotiations?

Many victims are busy taking care of their injury after being critically hurt in an accident. In this case, an attorney can handle your claim while you focus on recovery. Your personal injury attorney can also be helpful if the insurance company is refusing to respond to your correspondence. This can be a frustrating situation for a person who has been seriously injured and prefers not to deal with the settlement negotiations. There are no mandatory checklists or rules for negotiating, however a Philadelphia car accident lawyer can help you ensure that you decrease your chances of making a mistake.

Without an attorney, it is all too easy to make mistakes in the process of responding to a settlement offer. The adjuster could be trying to correspond with you directly to see if you are intimidated enough to give in to rebuttals and if you really understand how the settlement process works. Having a clear perspective about what your case might really be worth can be extremely helpful for anyone who has been seriously hurt in a wreck.

Your focus should be on recovering from the accident, attending your medical appointments, and keeping your evidence organized. Allowing your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company is one less thing for you to worry about.

When car accident settlement negotiations don’t get you the compensation you deserve.

When car accident settlement negotiations don’t get you the compensation you deserve, you will need an attorney to continue to fight for the compensation you deserve. This is when an experienced trial lawyer is crucial to your claim. Your attorney may look to additional insurance policies if the coverage is inadequate.

A settlement may be your goal, however you want an attorney that can take your case to trial if you want to receive the best settlement offer. Did you know that some attorneys haven’t tried a case in years (or ever)? If you were hoping for a quick settlement, and retained an attorney who only knows how to settle, you are in a position of weakness in settlement negotiations. An attorney who only knows how to settle will advise you to settle when they have hit a wall in the settlement negotiations because they are not prepared to take your case to trial.

Personal Injury Trial Lawyers can help in car accident settlement negotiations.

Insurance companies know which personal injury lawyers will go to trial and which ones will only settle. With that in mind, personal injury lawyers known to the insurance companies as experienced trial lawyers have better negotiating leverage with the insurance companies. Personal injury trial lawyers can also be an important resource in deciding when it is advisable to accept a settlement offer and when it is advisable to seek justice through the litigation process. Although the monetary component is important for any victim who has been seriously injured, sometimes emotional and other costs associated with not settling become factors in your decision. With the help of a personal injury trial lawyer, all the facts of your case will be weighed to make the best decision for you.

We’re here to help you in settlement negotiations and in court. Contact Fox Law today at 215-568-6868 for a free consultation.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *