Will My Personal Injury Lawyer Negotiate With the Insurance Company?
When filing a claim with an insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries, the process can be incredibly frustrating without the benefit of skilled legal representation. In most situations, a quick offer from an adjustor is likely to be much lower than what your claim is actually worth.
From the very outset, insurance companies know exactly how much they are willing to pay to close a claim – even those involving permanent disability. By questioning the validity of your injuries, your treatment, or even your role in the accident, they will attempt to pay as little as possible. Getting the best settlement in a personal injury case requires lots of legwork, preparedness, and those who choose to represent themselves are at a huge disadvantage.
Regardless if your injuries resulted from a car accident, or because of a dangerous property condition, you don’t have to deal with insurance companies alone.
Unlike insurance adjusters who appear to be on your side, a personal injury lawyer will always act in your best interest. That means when a settlement offer is too low, or grossly unfair, they are prepared to negotiate until an agreement is reached. When back-and-forth negotiations fail, your counsel will outline the pros and cons of taking your case to trial.
The negotiation process
An attorney specializing in personal injury law can calculate the true worth of your claim. This allows for effective negotiations, as there are no damages – current, past, or future –overlooked. Medical bills along with lost wages and would-be income will factor heavily into your attorney’s demand letter. This letter describes the exact dollar amount to compensate for your various losses and serves as the foundation for the settlement process. The demand will be for a high amount, but one that is not within reason.
The letter must be accompanied with supportive documentation, such as physician reports, hospital records, and receipts for accident expenses that were paid out of pocket.
After receiving this demand letter, the insurance adjuster has the right to raise questions or refute facts that would ultimately reduce your rights to money damages. The adjustor will often return with a much lower counteroffer, ostensibly based on lacking insurance coverage, liability, or the real extent of your injuries. If you had a preexisting condition that was exacerbated by the accident, this can also raise arguments, and prolong the negotiation process.
Legitimate questions from the insurance company must be addressed. As the claimant, the burden is on you to provide justification for all expenses and losses. While negotiating a settlement is a legal matter, it is also a bargaining process. You need to show the defendant that you mean business, and have a legal advocate who is savvy to their tactics.
If their counteroffer is ridiculously low, your lawyer will request explanation. Depending on your situation and personal motives, you may decide to concede a bit and make a compromise.
Timing, organization, and patience are paramount. At some point, insurance companies will want to resolve the matter completely. After several rounds of negotiations, they may present their final dollar amount, or agree to your counteroffer.
The vast majority of personal injury cases are not litigated in court. Insurance companies know the risks and expense of a jury trial, and generally prefer to settle claims quickly.
In the event that a lawsuit must be filed, personal injury claimants in New York have three years to initiate their complaint.
Position your case for success with Douglas & London
A New York personal injury lawyer at Douglas & London can improve your chances of getting the highest settlement following an accident. If you or a loved one have been injured, let us review your situation during a free, no-obligation consultation. Leave the stress and headache of settlement negotiations to legal experts who have recovered millions of dollars for clients. Our attorneys can strengthen the credibility and value of your claim, providing a complete picture of your injuries and foreseeable damages.
Whether you have questions about a settlement offer, or need sound legal advice, Douglas & London is here to help. There is no fee until we recover compensation on your behalf.