8 Things You Should NOT Do When Negotiating Personal Injury Settlements
If you are headed to the negotiating table to resolve your personal injury claim, try to avoid these eight possible pitfalls.
Coming to the Negotiating Table Without an Advocate
I am not going to tell you that you cannot settle your personal injury claim alone. You can do what you want, and simple claims can be settled without an attorney, but hiring a personal injury attorney is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Parties who hire representation tend to receive higher settlements and have an easier time managing the personal injury claim process than those who do not.
First, an attorney knows all of the procedural hurdles you will face during the process. If you happen to miss a step, it could be disastrous for your claim. Second, attorneys know how much your claim should be worth. They will not let you take a lower settlement than you deserve without warning you first.
Never give up. Never surrender. Just Kidding. Just remember to never admit that the accident was your fault, and never apologize for the accident. Insurance adjusters negotiate settlements for a living. They are very good at it. Do not give them ammunition with which to crush you. Always be pleasant and cooperative, but do not admit that the accident was your fault until the insurance adjuster proves it. It is your job to make the other side prove their claims.
Being Rude or Belligerent
Have you ever heard that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar? I do not know how that adage plays out as an actual housekeeping maxim, but in the practice of law, I love it. You will always get more out of an opposing party if you are kind, considerate, and well-mannered. It is amazing what you can get from people simply be asking for it. During negotiations, you will want to appear confident, but not mean or condescending. A good attitude will get you everywhere.
Taking the First Offer Just to Get It Over With
If the insurance adjuster makes an offer that appears too good to be true, it is probably going to turn out to be a terrible settlement offer. It is hard to know how much a claim is worth early in the process before you have received most of your medical treatment. It is important not to accept a settlement offer until you have gotten all the facts.
Often, an insurance adjuster can spot you as a new negotiator coming and will attempt to placate you with a quick offer that is much smaller than it should be hoping that you will take the bait and save the insurance company time and money.
Waiting Too Long To Respond.
If you receive a letter, phone call or email from an insurance adjuster or an opposing party, respond as soon as you are able. If you say nothing for weeks or months, the offer may no longer be available when you contact them.
Assuming You Cannot Say No
You can turn down an offer that you think is too low. I wrote it maybe March or April). You can reject the offer and make a counteroffer. Do not enter a negotiation without plans to actually negotiate. Be prepared to advocate for yourself.
Posting Details of the Negotiation Process on Social Media
Settlement negotiations are always confidential. Do not speak or post anything about them before or after you reach a settlement. Talking about the settlement and its negotiation can void your settlement.
Being Unwilling to Compromise
You cannot come to the negotiating table without being prepared to make concessions. Personal injury settlements are figured along pre-determined lines. If you are hoping to become a millionaire without need a million dollars in compensation. You will fail.