It is extremely helpful, at the appropriate time, to discuss the settlement strategy that your lawyer may wish to use so you can give your input into this process so as to get you more money for your serious personal injury case.
The best time to enter into settlement negotiations for your accident case is once you can completely and accurately document both the at fault party’s responsibility for the injuries and the severity of those injuries. It is therefore very important for your injury attorney to conduct a prompt investigation of your case, which includes detailing your injuries, and identifying the responsible parties. This should be done at or very near the time that your attorney takes your case.
Your lawyer should not start settlement discussions until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Once you recover to the point when your doctor tells you that there is nothing more that can be done to improve your medical situation, your attorney can begin settlement discussions. After this, your lawyer can obtain a final medical report from your doctor, which will detail your course of care and treatment along, with your disability rating(s) as it relates to your affected body parts.
It would not be possible to properly evaluate your case (determine its value) until you have obtained your final medical report from your doctor. Otherwise, you would not know how much longer you would require treatment, whether your condition would change and whether you would require future surgery.
The exception to this rule is when your injuries and damages clearly exceed the value of the responsible party’s insurance coverage, and where the responsible party does not have any assets or mean of paying or satisfying any judgments in excess of the insurance policy limits. In that case, your lawyer might explain that your only real option is to accept the insufficient policy limits for any one of a number of reasons.
Once your lawyer properly documents both the severity of your injuries and the reasons why the defendant is responsible for your damages, it is time to draft a settlement demand package.
Although your attorney has the experience to draft such a document and on the evaluation of your claim it is important that you be involved in this process. You should be consulted about your input and your feelings. Remember you are the expert on your treatment and how your injuries have had an impact upon you.
After your lawyer has completely documented your case and you have given your attorney all of the information about the affect this injury has had on your life, your attorney can properly evaluate your claim. Have your attorney explain how the value of your case was determined. Ask questions, point out things you do not think your attorney considered and have your attorney justify the value of your case to you. Ask what jury verdict research has revealed.
You should also discuss your attorney’s settlement strategy with you. If your attorney feels that your case is worth X number of dollars does your attorney first submit a demand of 2X or 3X? Does the attorney demand a 1 1/4 X or 1 1/2 X? Why does the attorney feel that their particular demand is the best way to go about starting the settlement process?
If your initial demand is too high, oftentimes insurance companies might not engage in a settlement discussion because they feel you are being too unrealistic about the value of your claim. If your demand is too close to the value your attorney feels your case is worth, you might not get fair value for your case.
Although your attorney has experience in this area it does not hurt for you to question your attorney’s judgment, and to have your attorney justify what he/she is doing.
Your attorney has an obligation to keep you informed as to all settlement offers and you ultimately decide when, if at all, to settle your case. It is very important to rely upon and listen to your attorney’s counsel because he/she has experience in that area.
If you or someone you love was injured as the result of an accident, contact one of our Personal Injury Attorneys today at 888-244-5480. Our team has the knowledge and experience to make sure you get top dollar for serious personal injuries.