Most people go through life hoping they’ll never encounter a situation where they or their loved ones are injured through someone else’s fault. It’s a scenario no one wants to dwell on, but unfortunately, accidents happen every day due to negligence and human error. If you should find yourself injured in an automobile accident or through another common occurrence such as medical malpractice, there are some things about the personal injury settlement process you should know before you hire a personal injury attorney.
The Negotiation Process
Arriving at a settlement sometimes requires a trip down a winding road. Once your lawyer determines a starting amount and sends out the demand letter to the insurance company, you will begin the process by speaking with an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will attempt to point out any flaws in the claim and make a lower counteroffer. If you are unwilling to take the offered amount, you may concede somewhat to the adjuster’s points and ask for a slightly lesser amount than your original demand. At this point, the adjuster will usually increase the company’s offer. This process continues until both sides reach an agreement.
Subjects that will be discussed generally include: the extent of your injuries, lost wages, who was at fault, whether the company covers this kind of accident, the extent of your injuries, and whether they have temporary or permanent consequences. Because this process can be stressful and difficult to navigate, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer you trust to help guide you through the negotiation. Insurance adjusters are hired to keep the company from paying out large settlements, so you’ll need someone experienced to protect your interests.
How Settlements Are Calculated
There are several factors to consider when arriving at a cash settlement in a personal injury case. One rule of thumb used by many personal injury lawyers is to take the lost income and medical costs resulting from the accident and multiply it by four. Most settlement amounts are kept confidential, but internal reporting in the insurance industry shows an average of $24,000 per case as of 2013. This number, of course, varies depending on the factors mentioned above. There is also a lot of variation by industry in personal injury settlement awards—for instance, malpractice suits tend to have much higher settlements than other personal injury claims. To get an idea of how much you should ask for, there are many online settlement calculators to help you get a general picture of possible settlements so you don’t enter the negotiation process blind.
For more information about personal injury claims and the negotiation process, contact the law experts at the offices of Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein at 646-798-1417 for a free consultation. Hiring a specialized New York personal injury lawyer who knows the state laws is the best way to ensure a good outcome for your settlement negotiation. Don’t wait until it’s too late to file a claim—get the settlement you deserve.