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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

How Settlement Negotiation Works in an Injury Case: Personal Injury Claims

Suffering an injury under any circumstances is a terrible situation to face, but it is even harder when it is caused by someone else's actions. Luckily, victims can claim damages for medical bills, property damage, and other expenses through a personal injury claim- usually via settlement negotiations.


Understanding how settlement negotiation works in an injury case helps victims better prepare themselves for the road ahead, giving them a better chance of receiving the compensation they deserve. An experienced personal injury lawyer can ease the burden by taking the lead in the negotiation process and ensuring no stone is left unturned in the battle for justice. They can help shed insight on personal injury and mental distress cases in small claims court.


What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?

What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?


A personal injury settlement is the result of a civil case between an accident victim and the liable party- or, more often, their primary insurance carrier. The purpose of a settlement is to repay the victim for out-of-pocket expenses and additional damages for their pain and suffering without having to file a lawsuit and go to court.


It is usually in everyone's best interests to settle personal injury cases without a trial. They are faster and avoid extensive legal fees connected with a court case, plus they allow some level of anonymity and discretion.


What Part Do Settlement Negotiations Play in Personal Injury Cases?


To reach a settlement, the claimant and the liable insurance adjuster must negotiate terms and find a figure they both agree on. The personal injury attorney working on behalf of the victim starts high and shares their case on why the amount is justifiable, then the insurance company comes back with a low offer and reasons why they don't believe they should pay the initial request.


It continues like this until an agreement is reached and the settlement is paid.


How Do Settlement Negotiations Work?


Here is an overview of the settlement negotiation process in a personal injury case.


Sending a Demand Letter

The first step in a settlement negotiation is the demand letter. A demand letter is sent by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of the claimant explaining their case, why the recipient is liable, and how much compensation they want to settle the claim.


This letter must be detailed, clear, and precise- complete with evidence to back up the claim. A good demand letter includes the following.

  • Detailed account of the incident as it happened, with factual evidence and reports

  • A clear indication of why the insurance company is liable for the damages

  • Summary of all medical costs, with receipts for medical treatment and doctor records stating the expected future treatment expenses

  • All other economic damages, such as lost wages, bills for property damage repairs, and any other out-of-pocket costs (including an estimate of future lost income)

  • A figure for non-economic damage with a convincing explanation of why they are justified

  • The total amount of compensation the claimant is seeking

  • A clear declaration of the next steps the claimant intends to take if a response is not received and a settlement reached

  • Deadline for the insurance company to respond to the letter before further actions are taken

The representing lawyer can draft and send this letter on the victim's behalf with their approval. Once the letter is sent, the personal injury claim is live.


Insurance Company Responds

It is then up to the claims adjuster to respond to the letter. They can decide to engage in negotiations or deny the claim altogether.


Usually, the response includes the opposing description of events and what they believe a fair settlement amount would be.


Claimant Pushes Their Case

Once the response is received, negotiations begin. The claimant and their lawyer once again push their case, including all relevant documents and evidence to counter any defense the insurance company has put forward.


They then make another settlement demand (slightly lower than the first one in most cases) and wait for a response.


Defending Insurance Adjuster Makes an Offer

The insurance adjusters come back with a lowball offer, meaning an amount well below what the victim is asking for. They do this to try and throw them off and scare them into dropping their demand to a significantly lower amount, but an aggressive injury attorney acts as a defense to this and will fight on their behalf.


A Second Settlement Amount is Proposed by the Claimant

After hearing the counter demand of the insurance company, the victim's lawyer sends back their own. Depending on how strong the case is, they can either insist upon the figure stated previously or lower their demand slightly to encourage the opposition to accept.


Offer is Accepted, or Counter-Demands Continue

Next, the insurance adjuster can either accept the settlement demand based on the evidence provided or reply with another counteroffer. If they do not accept, the negotiation process continues until a decision is reached.


Once both sides are in agreement, the settlement is secured and the victim receives their compensation. This is usually the end of all communications, and the case is not taken any further unless criminal charges are being pressed separately.


What Happens if a Fair Settlement Is Not Reached?

What Happens if a Fair Settlement Is Not Reached?


If an insurance settlement is not agreed after a reasonable amount of time, the parties do not continue negotiating. Instead, the victim can take the case to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. At this point, the case goes to trial, and a judge will decide whether or not compensation is owed and, if so, how much.


Going to court takes time and money for both sides, so it is generally avoided. It is a last resort if both sides feel they have not reached a figure they are happy to accept.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorney Go to Far for Hou Victims to Secure the Settlements They Deserve


The negotiation process is taxing, and a victim recovering from an injury may not be able to face it alone. Having the backing of a respected and passionate law firm can help things move faster, smoother, and more efficiently- ultimately leading to a more favorable outcome. can also help in other areas like explaining who's at fault in truck tire blowouts.


Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Houston today to arrange a free consultation and start the ball rolling on settlement negotiations. They go to war on behalf of victims to win them the settlements they deserve.


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