Most personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom. Prospective claimants may feel disappointed at the prospect of not having their day in court. Still, truth be told, settlement negotiations are often more favorable for everyone involved, especially if you do not take the first offer.
Room To Negotiate
There is no rule that you must take a settlement the insurance company offers. You get to decide if the offer is fair or not. However, do not automatically assume the initial offer — if there is one — is unfair. While the majority of first offers, or counteroffers, are low, you cannot assume all will be. Your attorney can help you decide how fair or unfair the offer is.
Lawyers, especially those with personal injury law experience, know how much your claim is worth (at least a ballpark figure). Any successful personal injury lawyer can look at the specifics of your claim and compare it to similar cases, injuries and payouts, offering a rough estimate of what you can expect and providing a ballpark for negotiation efforts.
Sometimes, an attorney will tell their client to take an initial offer, especially if the case is a challenging one to argue in court. If an insurance company is firm in its initial offer, presenting it as a take it or leave situation, taking the first offer might be the right move.
However, every settlement decision must be weighed against the merits of the specific claim and case. Sometimes, a hardline stance by an insurer is only an intimidation tactic. You must remember that any lawyer’s primary job is to get the best result for their client, including lawyers working for insurance companies.
Insurance companies want to minimize exposure and liability. If they can get a claimant to settle early and sign confidentiality agreements, they protect their corporate image.
An early low-ball offer is likely a last-ditch effort to sweep a case under the rug before it receives any unwanted attention. Again, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the legitimacy and fairness of any initial or later settlement offer.
Are you preparing for a personal injury lawsuit? If so, find an experienced and local attorney to help you build your case. These professionals offer their expertise to ensure you get the best chance at success. If you are considering arguing your claim alone, reconsider. Know the insurer will not show up without a law firm on its side. Hiring a personal injury lawyer from reputable local firms such as Barry P. Goldberg can only improve your odds.