A personal injury settlement is a financial award you may be able to receive after another person or entity negligently or intentionally causes harm. A settlement is an agreement you and the defendant (and often the defendant’s insurer) come to, without needing to take the case to court. As a claimant, it is up to you or your injury attorney in California to take steps to maximize your personal injury award during settlement negotiations.
Do Not Admit Fault
Never say you were at fault for an accident, even if you suspect this is the case. Instead, stick only to the known and verified facts of the case. When speaking to police officers, other involved parties, and insurance companies, do not admit fault or apologize for the accident. Stay polite and honest, but do not offer any more information than is necessary. Admitting fault could lessen your compensation award by your percentage of fault, or even bar you from recovery completely. Wait for investigators to determine the cause of an accident instead.
Get Immediate Medical Care
After an accident that causes any kind of injury, seek immediate medical care. Waiting to receive treatment could tell an insurance company that your injuries were not very serious. It could also give them a reason to blame you for the extent or severity of your injuries since you delayed medical care. Both of these assumptions could lead to smaller settlement offers or no offer at all. Protect yourself by seeking immediate medical attention for your injuries.
The strongest personal injury claims have a great deal of evidence supporting the victim’s claim to financial compensation. Preserve and collect as much evidence as possible after an accident in El Cajon. Evidence may include medical records, hospital bills, eyewitness statements, photographs, insurance documents, and affidavits of merit from subject-matter experts. A jury will determine the fate of your case by looking at the available evidence. The better you do at evidence preservation, the stronger your claim.
Understand the Value of Your Case
One of the most common critical errors claimants make during personal injury settlement negotiations is to believe the insurance company’s evaluation of damages. Insurance companies have one goal: to save themselves money. They will often undervalue an injury claim because they know many claimants will not realize they could argue for much more. Learn the true value of your case by consulting with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer’s goal is to maximize your award amount, not to minimize it. You can trust the evaluation you receive at a law firm.
Do Not Jump at the First Offer
Once you know what your claim could be worth, you will have more power during settlement negotiations. Do not say yes to the first offer, as it is likely the lowest you will receive. Instead, hold out for a better offer. Do not believe an insurance claims adjuster that says something is the last or best offer. You always have the power to continue negotiating a claim. If the insurance company refuses to meet the amount you have in mind, you can take your case to court to let a jury decide.
Explain Your Side of the Case
If you need to turn down a settlement offer, do so with an explanation of why you believe it is an unreasonably low amount. Be polite and thorough in your response. Explain why the offer is unacceptable, along with documents that support your claim to a higher amount. Rejecting your settlement with a reasonable explanation can show the insurance company you know what you are doing, and that you have a strong case.
Use an Attorney in El Cajon for Negotiations
The best way to maximize a personal injury settlement is to use a La Mesa personal injury attorney to handle negotiations for you. A lawyer will have years of experience dealing with insurance companies. The lawyer will know exactly what to say to convince an insurance company to offer more for a claim. An attorney will also be able to take your case to trial if necessary for fair and full compensation.