The vast majority of personal injury cases settle before going to trial. Still, you shouldn’t be so quick to pull the trigger on a settlement agreement. In fact, all too often the initial offer made during negotiations are contrary to a victim’s best interests, as they tend to fall well short of providing what a victim truly needs and deserves as they focus on their recovery.
So, what can you do as you head into negotiations on your personal injury claim? How can you ensure that you’re protecting your interests and your future while still expediting the process? These are good questions. We hope the following information will provide some answers.
How to prepare for settlement negotiations
If you want to maximize the settlement negotiation process, then you need to be prepared when you’re going into it. This means doing the following:
- Gaining an understanding of your economic damages: Before you sit down at the negotiation table, you have to know what your case is worth. Therefore, you’ll want to calculate your lost wages and medical expenses that have already incurred, but you’ll also want to talk to your doctor to determine what your anticipated medical expenses will look like. You can also calculate out your lost wages based on the amount of time that you’ll be out of work to focus on your recovery.
- Determining your non-economic damages: Although you’re probably going to face significant financial losses in the aftermath of your accident, there are other forms of harm that will befall you. Physical pain, limited mobility, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement are all real possibilities. And these damages have value in your personal injury claim. So, think through what those damages might be worth.
- Considering favorable evidence: You have more leverage at the negotiation table if you have strong evidence to support your case. If your evidence is questionable, then you’ll probably need to be prepared to negotiate a little more. So, before heading into negotiations, you should make sure that you talk to witnesses and fully assess the evidence at hand.
- Analyzing the evidence against you: The defense isn’t just going to let you run the show in your personal injury case. They’re going to raise arguments to try to avoid liability or at least minimize the money that they’ll have to pay out. One way they do this is by trying to show that the victim was partially to blame for the accident. If they can successfully show that in court, then the ultimate recovery will be significantly diminished by the amount of fault allocated to the plaintiff.
- Thinking through the logistics of your recovery: A lot of accident victims want to wrap up their cases as quickly as possible. You might be in that boat, too. But think through what you need and what the logistics of your recovery will look like. If you need a significant amount of compensation to spur your recovery forward, then you might need to be prepared to aggressively advocate for what you deserve, even if that takes more time. If, on the other hand, you only need a fraction of your actual damages and value your time more, then you might be in a position to reach resolution more quickly. Some people settle their cases quickly because they’re simply strapped for cash. So, think through what makes the most sense for you.
Secure the outcome that’s best for you
There are a lot of ways to approach your personal injury case. You need to find and develop the strategy that works best for you.