If you are in the midst of the days following an injury from an accident, you may find yourself wondering about filing a personal injury claim against the person who was responsible. In many cases, you will find yourself having to negotiate a personal injury settlement with the responsible person's insurance company. Before you start any kind of settlement negotiations, here's a look at what your personal injury lawyer wants you to know.
Don't Go It Alone
After your accident, you'll likely receive a call from the other party's insurance company. The adjuster will want to talk with you and ask questions both about the accident and about your treatment and condition. At this point, you might think that it's a simple enough process to resolve on your own with the insurance company.
However, it's in your best interest to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that the other party's insurance company can communicate directly with your lawyer instead of with you. This is important because your inexperience in personal injury law could lead you to say something to the insurance adjuster that might cost you in your settlement without you even realizing it.
Never Accept Their First Offer
In the aftermath of your injury, it's not uncommon to find yourself wanting to get the whole thing over with and get the money that you can from the other party. Medical bills, lost work time, and other expenses can add up quickly and leave you overwhelmed. As a result, you might find yourself tempted to accept the first offer from the insurance company just to get some cash, even if it isn't as much as you'd hoped for.
Your personal injury attorney will advise against accepting the first offer in a rush to get things settled. That first offer is always the lowest consideration from the insurance company, and it's intended to start the negotiation process. You should always work with an attorney to counter that offer for a more reasonable amount.
Don't Settle For Just Current Costs
As you discuss the settlement amount with your attorney before countering the insurance company's offer, don't just consider the expenses that you have incurred up to now. Instead, think about your long-term costs. If you'll have any further treatment, if you'll be out of work for some time, or if there will be lasting effects after the accident, you need to account for those things when you counter the settlement offer.
Your personal injury attorney will tell you what types of things you should think about so that you can be sure that you're getting a fair settlement after your injury. Rely on his or her expertise, as this is the work that they specialize in.