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Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement

Since 8 out of 10 personal injury cases are settled before anyone sets foot in a court room, you may wonder about the “secrets” to closing a close before it has to go to court. But is going to court that bad? It depends. You might get more, but you might spend more on your lawyer. And a lawyer is the first step in correctly negotiating a personal injury case.

Should you file a lawsuit?
Do not file a lawsuit without a lawyer. The first real step is sending a letter explaining your injuries to the adjuster in the case. This is far more important than you might think. If you claim an injury of less value than it ends up being, you make it harder to get a quick settlement. If the adjuster sets a low number for the case, that is very hard to change. If you make clear your injuries, which can be difficult without a doctors help, you may get your full compensation.

Negotiating with the Adjuster
What happens if the adjuster sets your reserve too low, or too high? It can be almost a mind game. You should consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer if negotiations are tough. You can make clear your injury beforehand, but be sure you know exactly what has occurred. With a doctor's guidance, you can do so. Right after any accident, even your doctor won't know the full extent of your injuries. This is why personal injury cases can sometimes drag on; until you know the full physical and psychological issues, you cannot make a complete claim. On the other hand, you can keep your adjuster abreast of what is happening to better help you in later negotiations.

Consulting with a Lawyer

Make no decisions without a lawyer. This can be hard; will you really need a lawyer? Some lawyers may advise you to only submit your claim when you know the full extent. It all depends on your situation; few cases are exactly alike. Therefore, if there is some uncertainty with any decision, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. It's his/her job to help you make decisions.

What if they pay?
If the insurer covers everything – it happens all the time – you can focus on recovery. If the insurer decides to set your claim lower, you may have to file a lawsuit. Once again, the majority of the time you will not have to set foot in a court room; you can settle beforehand, saving everyone legal fees. However, your trump card is the willingness to go to court. You may get a low settlement offer, reject it, then get a higher one. You may be able to prove more in court, such as with pain and suffering issues, and double the value of the claim. In any case, you need a lawyer to help make this decision, so hire one you can work with over a long period and who specializes in personal injury law.