How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Negotiate Settlements?

A lawyer taking notes during a meeting.

While intimate knowledge of legal procedure and injury claim documentation are required, many personal injury lawsuits come down to very business-like haggling. This process involves an initial claim being made to an allegedly liable party, who will respond in turn with a counteroffer.

Eventually, both sides will respond to one another in order to come to an agreement that can mutually satisfy both parties. Otherwise, they must proceed to trial litigation, which is far more expensive and time-consuming for everyone involved.

Therefore, many personal injury attorneys will rely upon the following procedure to help their clients obtain a fair, reasonable settlement:

Personal Injury Attorneys Investigate and Write Initial Demand Letter

The first step in any personal injury case is to investigate and document all of the factors involved. Most personal injury cases involve factors like negligence or defective products. The injury victim and their lawyer must not only confirm that these circumstances exist, but that they entailed situations where the injury-causer would be directly liable and that they also directly lead to the injury.

As a quick example: a slip-and-fall victim may have evidence that an employee was drunk on the job and splashing water all over the floor when mopping. However, if they cannot prove that this employee’s behavior led to the specific puddle the victim slipped on, that negligent behavior is not yet legally relevant to the case.

During the investigation phase, an attorney will consider all evidence like this and also document the full costs of the injury. These costs include medical costs as well as damages like loss-of-income or emotional distress.

The attorney will then put all of this information in a demand letter and send it to the allegedly liable party. This letter will detail all of the circumstances and available evidence along with the full amount they are demanding in compensation for their client.

Defendant Responds, Counter-Offers Ensue

At this point, the defendant has a certain amount of days to respond to the demand letter. When they do, they are likely to dispute certain facts like the circumstances of the injury or the full costs of the medical bills, such as claiming that some procedures were not necessary.

If the victim’s attorney can then offer a rebuttal that sufficiently convinces the defendant that they have a case, the defendant will make their first offer. This offer is likely to be very low because it is an attempt to get you to settle quickly for less than you are owed.

Your attorney will then respond once more in turn with his own counter-offer closer to the initial amount you demanded. This process continues until both parties agree upon a settlement amount or until the plaintiff is forced to move to trial to get the full amount they deserve.

During this lengthy back-and-forth process, knowledge of legal procedure is critical, but so is experience with dealing with defendants or their insurance carriers. The defense may use tactics like setting up strict deadlines for response or attempting to get the plaintiff to accept a lower amount by saying it is all they can get. Experienced personal injury attorneys persist through these tactics, guiding their client in order to obtain the maximum possible amount of compensation the situation allows for.

If you want a personal injury lawyer to help you through this process, then contact Peter N. Davis & Associates, LLC today. Dial the number you see above or use our convenient contact form to receive your free consultation and to possibly start your injury claim today.