It's important to know as much as possible about your vehicle accident case. Becoming a well-informed client will only help your personal injury lawyer do their job better. One important aspect of your case involves negotiating a settlement, and it pays to know how things work in that regard.
Asking for an Offer
To get things started, your personal injury lawyer will most likely send a letter of demand to the at-fault driver's insurance company. This letter states that their client is at fault for the accident and includes a list of damages for which you intend to seek payment. Once the letter is received, the other side knows that you don't intend to blindly accept what the insurer is already paying. You now are asking to be paid for your damages in addition to pain and suffering payments.
Understanding Accident Damages
Each form of damage after an accident might be considered part of the negotiations. However, you may only get what you deserve if your lawyer talks them into it. In most cases, your damages consist of your unpaid medical expenses related to the accident, your wrecked vehicle and other personal property damage or losses, your lost wages from a job, and finally, your pain and suffering.
Understanding Pain and Suffering Damages
This area of damages may become the center of the negotiations because of the ways it can be calculated. Pain and suffering can be defined as the way the accident injuries have affected your state of mind. It's the discomfort, stress, misery, anxiety, depression, boredom, worry, and more that tend to affect most accident victims. When it comes to being paid for pain and suffering, lawyers use a variety of methods. Some assign a daily value to your life post-accident. For instance, you might be paid $1,000 a day. Others use a calculation based on your medical expenses. Either way, the amounts paid are open to negotiation.
What Else to Know About Personal Injury Negotiations
Fortunately, you won't have to worry about doing the actual negotiations with the other side, your lawyer will take care of that. However, here is what else to know about this phase of your case:
- Most of the time, the talks between the lawyers are held via email or over the phone. Formal documents will put on paper any agreements by the parties.
- You can expect the other side to offer you far less than you asked for in the letter of demand. That is quite common and is the way the other side tries to evaluate your desperation to settle.
- You can always change your mind about the bottom line amount you are willing to accept when things change. For example, you might find out during the negotiations that you won't be needing further surgery after all.
To find out more, speak to a local law firm, such as Phillip Koutsogiane Attorney at Law.