Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Negotiating a Personal Injury Case

Negotiating a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit can be extremely complex.  Just as you would not try to perform complex surgery on yourself, you should also not try to negotiate your own personal injury case.  Always consult an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you have considered all of your legal options. 

The following factors are just a few of the many considerations when negotiating a personal injury settlement. 

1. Case Evaluation
How much is your case worth?  A good case evaluation will take into consideration your medical expenses, any permanent injury, your age, ongoing medical treatment and property damage.  You must determine a range of value for your case before you begin negotiating.  If you have not decided on a value, an insurance company will be happy to tell you how much your case is worth.  This value is likely to be much less than what you should actually receive.

2. Timing
Settling a personal injury claim too quickly can result in lost damages.  Your attorney must adequately investigate the possibility of lost earnings and employment, properly evaluate any injury to determine if it is permanent or temporary and make sure you are "medically stationary" before sending a demand letter to an insurance company.  A proper investigation must be completed before settling your case.

3. Statute of Limitations
Every personal injury claim has a statute of limitations.  This is the period of time after an injury occurs within which you must file a lawsuit or you will be prohibited from recovery.  Contact an attorney soon after you have been injured to begin an investigation, make sure you are receiving proper medical care and to preserve your rights. 

4. Demand Letter
Drafting an demand letter is an art.  An effective letter will include relevant facts regarding the extent of your injuries, specific reasons why the insurance company should pay you and it will convey the fact that you are serious about your claim. 

5. The most important factor is whether you should even accept a settlement.  Your case may be worth more than the insurance company is offering in settlement.  An experienced litigation attorney can explain all of your legal options, including your chances at trial.

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