Dangers of Negotiating a Settlement on Your Own
Many people hesitate to hire lawyers after an accident, believing that they can settle their claim on their own. However, in most situations, an injured victim is not well positioned to advocate effectively for themselves. They might be in too much pain to think clearly or be too worried about how they will pay the bills to hold out for a full and fair settlement.
At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Volusia County personal injury lawyers have negotiated favorable settlements for countless clients. With our background in insurance defense, we know all the tricks that defendants use to minimize the sums they pay out.
Problem #1: You Undervalue Your Injuries
The key to a settlement is to get as much money as you can, since you won’t be able to sue the defendant later for more money. In fact, before a defendant will agree to a settlement, they will require that victims release them from any future claims based on the same accident. If you settle for too little, you will soon find yourself without the funds necessary to support yourself.
Insurance companies know that most people cannot properly estimate the cash value of their injuries. For that reason, they love to make a lowball initial offer, which is usually a fraction of what your injuries are worth.
To properly evaluate how much you might receive, an experienced personal injury lawyer will look at your economic losses for things like medical care, lost wages, and property damage. Then he will estimate your non-economic losses for things like pain and suffering to arrive at a fair figure.
Problem #2: You Settle Too Soon
Some insurance companies hope you grab the first settlement offer. However, if you decline and continue to negotiate, they will slowly increase the amount they are willing to pay. This is part of the art of negotiating effectively, and few people truly understand how to hold out for more money.
There is another key reason not to settle too soon—you might not know the full extent of your losses. For example, someone with devastating physical injuries probably won’t reach maximum medical improvement for several months. You want to know how much you lost on medical bills and wages before you approach the bargaining table.
Problem #3: You Reveal Too Much Information
Information is power, and you can keep the upper-hand in settlement negotiations by keeping your cards close to your chest. For example, in your initial demand for compensation, you might only mention economic losses. If the defendant rejects your offer, you can then explain your intangible losses, like emotional distress and pain. If you reveal everything all at once, then a defendant can strategize much more effectively.
Injured in an Accident? Contact Us Today
Bundza & Rodriguez is a leading Volusia County personal injury law firm, and we are here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We can review your case and help you understand the negotiation process better. We will then get right to work obtaining the compensation you badly need.