Negotiation in Personal Injury Cases
Most personal injury cases never go to court. Instead, negotiations between the parties lead to a mutually acceptable settlement agreement. But for negotiations to be effective, an injury victim must know how to negotiate. Often, in personal injury cases, the accident victim is negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. To avoid letting the insurance company take advantage of you, it is important to be educated in negotiation tactics. An attorney’s help can be invaluable in the negotiation process.Obtain Treatment
The first step in preparing for negotiations is to get medical attention for your injuries. A doctor can diagnose and treat you so that you know the type and severity of your injuries. This is essential to determining the amount of compensation you deserve.Know the Value of Your Case
Secondly, you must know how much your case is worth. You must have an understanding of what you would likely get from a jury or judge if the case went to court. This entails knowing which sorts of damages are compensable in California, and understanding the monetary value of the harm.
Special damages are the financial losses caused by the accident, and are compensable in California. This includes compensation for expenses including medical bills, prescriptions, damage to a vehicle, damage to other property, and lost earnings, even if you receive paid sick leave from your employer. General damages are intangible harms caused by an accident. They include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, etc.
After your total damages have been calculated, you must take into account other factors that could affect your recovery. For instance, if you were partially at fault in the accident, the value of your claim will be proportionately reduced. If multiple parties were at fault, you must be able to fairly apportion harm among them.Keep Good Records
Knowing the value of your claim will not get you very far if the other party has no evidence of your claims. Thus, it is important to make sure you document anything having to do with your injury claim. Keep all bills and receipts for medical expenses and property damage, and document any lost pay. After you have fully recovered, or recovered as much as you will, calculate your medical expenses.
To calculate lost income, keep track of any time you spent too injured to work, along with time you had to take off for doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, or other injury-related reasons. If you are self-employed or if your work is seasonal, calculating lost income will be much more difficult. Additionally, calculations are more complex if you have lost future wages or earning capacity because of a longer-term or permanent injury. In these cases, an attorney’s advice is especially helpful.Negotiate
Once you have calculated the value of your claim, your attorney will send a settlement demand letter to the insurance company or the defendant’s attorney, and the two parties can negotiate the amount of damages. Knowing what your claim is worth, and having good records to demonstrate the value to the other party, will give you a much stronger basis for your negotiations. If you and the other party cannot come to an agreement, you will have to go to court, where a judge or jury will make decisions regarding damages.
If you believe that you have a personal injury claim, an attorney’s negotiation skills will generally lead to a larger settlement. Please contact the dedicated San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to schedule a free consultation.Source