Five Tips for Negotiating the Best Personal Injury Settlement Possible
If you have been injured in a car accident you probably have a lot of questions. If your injuries prevent you from being able to work, the pain of the injuries can be aggravated by the stress of wondering how you are going to pay your bills.
We want to make filing a personal injury claim as stress-free as possible. We believe that innocent victims of serious accidents should be fully compensated for their injuries. But the unfortunate reality is that insurance companies and defense lawyers alike will take every measure to ensure that they have to pay as little compensation as possible to you, no matter how serious or life-altering your injuries may be.
The bottom line is that insurance companies want to make profits and their profits decrease the more compensation they pay accident victims.
Medical bills, damages for “pain and suffering”, and potential wage loss are just a few of the many harms following an accident that can lead to financial ruin if an accident victim isn’t properly compensated for their past and future losses.
We have seen firsthand just how much serious injuries can truly cost a person and their loved ones. That’s why we are fully committed to working with our clients to ensure that they get the best possible resolution for their claim.
Decades of experience seeking compensation for our clients’ injuries has helped us identify five key tips to use while negotiating to get the best personal injury settlement possible.
- Know your worth. At the start of the negotiation process, some insurance adjusters may come right out and offer a “take-it-or-leave-it” settlement. Not knowing the correct answer to this question could result in a settlement insufficient enough to truly cover the costs of your injuries.
When preparing your settlement demand, it is important to keep two amounts in mind—the range of what you believe your claim is worth (as indicated in your settlement demand), and the minimum amount within that range that you would accept. Your “minimum” may adjust over time depending on factors and evidence that can strengthen or weaken your claim, but knowing your bottom line is a major step in securing the largest settlement possible.
- Avoid lowball offers. In a similar vein to the above point, some adjusters may offer you an initial settlement much, much lower than your minimum might. This is a common tactic used as a way to gauge your background knowledge of the claim and try to settle your claim as quickly (and least expensively) as possible.
If an adjuster makes you a lowball settlement, do not accept it—even if you are not sure of the value of your claim. Instead, ask your adjuster for the specific reasons why your settlement offer is so low, and work with an experienced personal injury lawyer to address these concerns so that you can come to the negotiating table with solid answers to each of their questions or concerns.
- Substantiate your claim. When making a claim of any kind—especially for a personal injury claim—it is necessary to prove that the extent of your tangible injuries is commensurate with the amount of damages you wish to recover. Having a paper trail documenting everything from medical expenses to reduced wages gives you more leverage against an insurance company seeking to lower your settlement.
From the moment of the accident to the moment negotiations begin, be sure to document every cost incurred and provide these to your lawyer as evidence of your injuries. This may include receipts of emergency transportation and treatment expenses, long- and short-term medical costs, prescription/medicine bottles, as well as paycheck stubs (demonstrating a loss of wage due to your injury) as well as any applicable documentation that could be used as non-quantifiable assets (such as pain and suffering damages/emotional turmoil) in your claim.
- Understand the Statute of Limitations. There is a “deadline” for filing personal injury claims known as the Statute of Limitations. In Nova Scotia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is usually 2 years after the initial accident, in most cases. If you do not file a claim within two years after the date of the accident, you will no longer be able to pursue a claim and recover damages for your injuries. There are some exceptions to this rule and an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to explain these exceptions to you.
To avoid your claim “timing out,” begin putting your case together as soon as possible after an accident. Don’t wait until enough time has passed that you are scrambling to gather witnesses and evidence years later. Secure witness contact information and photographs of the incident as soon as it occurs, and get in touch with witnesses again when you file your claim and begin negotiating a settlement.
- Hire a lawyer. While you could theoretically negotiate a settlement on your own, hiring a lawyer is usually in your best interests for securing a higher settlement as it shows an insurance company that you mean business. With an in-depth knowledge of how best to present your case, advice on the best courses of action to take, and the ability to negotiate with adjusters on your behalf, hiring a lawyer maximizes your claim’s chances of success and ability to recover the amount you deserve.
Contact McKiggan Hebert Today
In order to increase the odds of receiving the largest claim possible, contact McKiggan Hebert as soon after sustaining an injury as possible and begin building your claim today. With more time to adequately gather evidence in support of your claim, as well as the maximum amount of time needed to substantiate your claim and recover a larger settlement, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands.