Most of us do not negotiate with others on a normal basis. If we do, it may be lower stakes than trying to negotiate an injury settlement that takes into consideration the full range of losses you’ve experienced because of someone else’s negligence.
Yet, negotiation is a key aspect of the personal injury process, so it’s important that you have an advocate in your corner who can fight for every dollar you deserve. Mathys & Schneid Personal Injury Lawyers help accident victims with every step of the settlement process, including negotiation.
Determining The Value Of Your Personal Injury Case
A critical component of negotiation is knowing how much your case is actually worth. There are several factors that can affect the value of a personal injury claim, including:
Liability refers to the responsible party’s duty to pay for the damages they caused. Generally, the clearer liability is in the situation, the more valuable your claim is.
If you were partially responsible for the accident, this can also affect the value of your claim. Illinois uses a modified comparative negligence system, which allows you to seek compensation after an accident as long as you are less than 51% at fault for the accident. However, your damages are reduced by your degree of fault. Therefore, if you are found to have been 15% at fault, the amount of your damages would proportionately be reduced by 15%.
Damages are the losses that you suffer in an accident and are case-specific. Examples of damages in Illinois personal injury cases include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost or reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of society
A personal injury lawyer can gather evidence of your losses and calculate them so you know the potential value of your claim.
Strength of Evidence
While many personal injury cases are resolved through a settlement, the insurance company may base its offer on what evidence may be used in a trial. The stronger your evidence, the more likely it is that you would be positioned to win your case, and the more valuable your claim might be.
Insurance companies only offer settlements up to the value of coverage in the policy. If multiple insurance companies are involved, there may be more insurance coverage available to pay for your losses and fairly compensate you.
There may be individual factors that can impact the potential value of your case. Some examples include:
- Your age and health
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you have that are affected by the accident
- Whether you have filed previous accident claims
- The insurance company and adjuster assigned to your case
- Where the accident occurred
- The type of accident
- Whether you have a lawyer and their ability
Steps Involved In A Personal Injury Case
If you are injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, your case may follow these steps before negotiations even begin:
Filing A Claim
Many personal injury cases are handled by settlements with insurance companies. The first step after an accident is usually to call and report the accident to the insurance company that covers the loss. For example, if you are injured in a car accident, you will probably contact the insurance company that covers the person who caused the accident. If you were injured while on someone else’s property, you would contact the business or homeowner’s insurance provider.
After you report the accident to the insurance company, it will likely assign an adjuster to the claim and begin an investigation. Keep in mind that the insurance company’s interests are not aligned with yours. It wants to limit exposure and the amount of money it pays on your claim while you want to maximize your compensation.
Your personal injury lawyer may also conduct an independent investigation to find evidence that supports your claim and demand for damages, such as:
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Photos or videos of the accident
- Previous reports of accidents
- Personnel records
- Medical records
- Electronically-stored information
Compilation Of Evidence
Your lawyer can next organize the evidence to create a story about how the accident happened, how it affects your life, and how much compensation would make you whole. Your lawyer will provide this information in your demand package.
Your demand package may consist of a letter that provides the details surrounding your accident and the losses you have experienced. It may include additional documents to support these assertions.
Your lawyer will negotiate a fair settlement amount on your behalf. If the insurance company rejects the initial demand, it may offer a lower counteroffer. Your lawyer will likely respond by requesting a higher amount. This may take several rounds of communication before they agree on a final number. If you accept the settlement, you sign a waiver and collect your settlement check.
Contact a Naperville Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Personal injury lawyers often negotiate with insurance companies. They have a good understanding of the value of claims based on similar cases they have handled. They can provide you with guidance throughout the claims process and manage all negotiations on your behalf.
Contact Mathys & Schneid Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.