If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury and it was the fault of another party, you deserve full compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, recovering what you deserve is not always a smooth or simple process.
It would be a rare occurrence for the responsible party to simply walk up to you and write a check for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. In truth, you and your family have probably been through a lot, and there may be more hardships on the way.
While it might be a nice day when you get a settlement check and take it to the bank, you will completely forfeit your right to seek additional compensation as soon as you cash that check. This is why negotiating a full and fair settlement is vital from the start.
Know the Full Value of Your Personal Injury Case
As an accident victim and someone that probably doesn’t have much experience with personal injury law, you may not know whether the amount you’ve been offered is fair compensation for your injuries. By accepting the offer, you might later find that your medical expenses and lost wages are higher than you originally believed.
There are some online personal injury settlement calculators that some people use as a gauge. These are not only unhelpful but can also be dangerous. Assessing the value of your claim with a standard online tool isn’t likely to deliver an accurate result. There are several reasons for this.
- State laws vary drastically. What is a high-value case in one state may not be worth much in another due to the different ways that state’s approach negligence and even limit the payment of damages. This is a factor that can dramatically impact the value of your case.
- They can’t account for all relevant factors. Some personal injury cases have legal issues related to lost income, pre-existing conditions, and shared fault. An online calculator may not be able to account for this.
- You may not have all the required information. These tools ask you input a great deal of information, some of which you might not have. Estimating some of these figures often requires the assistance of someone with more experience.
Tips for Negotiating a Favorable Injury Settlement
Getting a fair settlement after an injury is a process. Immediately following an accident, the best thing you can do is to remain at the scene and collect as much information as possible. Keep a record of all evidence, and seek immediate medical care to document any injuries.
It is a common misconception that the insurance company is on your side. Even your own insurer just wants to close its case as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Avoid speaking about your accident to an insurance adjuster or anyone else until you first discuss your situation with an experienced accident attorney.
The negotiation process in an Alabama injury case involves several steps. Depending on the nature of your injuries and the type of case, these may vary slightly.
- File a claim. This begins when you file a claim with the insurance company. Be sure to follow the insurer’s instructions for notice, which is generally as soon as possible after an accident.
- Initial letter. The insurer will send you a “Reservation of Rights” letter, which informs you that they are investigating your case but haven’t admitted liability.
- Demand letter. You and your attorney can work on your initial demand letter, which is only sent after you have medically stabilized. This is a letter telling the insurance company what you believe is a fair settlement.
- Response. The insurance company will respond to your demand letter, generally with a counter-offer. This process can go back and forth until you reach a settlement agreement or until you decide to take your case to court.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we understand the confusion, stress, and anger that often accompanies a senseless injury. If you or someone you love has been injured due to another party’s careless or negligent behavior, we are here to help.
When you work with us, we will not only advocate for your rights as an accident victim but will also put our vast experience to work on your behalf as we fight for the compensation you deserve. And by this, we mean full and fair compensation, not a compromise that will leave you struggling to pay your bills.
Contact our Mobile office today at (800) 574-4332 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.