What Happens During Injury Settlement Case Negotiations?
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Negotiations are a really important part of your settlement process. Essentially, your settlement amount will be worked out during negotiations. After a Florida car accident, these negotiations will be with your insurance company, and there are a few very important things to keep in mind before delving into how the negotiations process is going to go.
First and foremost, your insurance company will look after their own bottom line as a priority. In a perfect world, individuals will pay their monthly premiums month after month, and they’ll never get into an accident. This gives the driver peace of mind, it allows insurance companies to collect premiums without paying out settlements, and settlements will not need to be negotiated at all. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and drivers must remember that the insurance providers they pay are businesses after all. For this reason, insurance companies will first set out to provide the lowest settlements possible in an effort to thicken their bottom line.
Because insurance companies will try their hardest to limit settlements, it’s imperative to have an experienced Florida personal injury attorney on your side. Without the help of an attorney, the process of negotiations is much more complicated and daunting, and you’re not like to get the same type of settlement that a professional is willing to fight for. Insurance companies will have their own legal teams, so drivers should have one as well to even the playing field.
The Negotiations Process
In theory, the negotiations process is a simple one. An injured motorist will ask for an initial settlement amount in their demand letter, the letter is sent to the insurance company, and the company will respond. Typically the insurance company will question parts of your claim, downplay your desired settlement amount, and respond to your demand letter with a much lower potential settlement amount. Once the motorist receives this counter-offer, they will then back up their claims and respond with their desired settlement amount again, often times a bit lower than the initial amount to move closer to the insurance provider’s offer.
Usually, around this point, the insurance company will feel out just how quickly a motorist wishes to accept a settlement by offering a very low counter offer again. With an experienced attorney on your side, this tactic will be picked out quickly and your attorney will be able to guide you through your next moves.
Throughout this back and forth a motorist and an insurance provider will typically meet with a settlement amount that satisfies both parties, but not always. If a motorist and an insurance provider cannot meet with a satisfying settlement, the case may be taken to court, where your attorney will fight for your right to compensation for your damages.
The Subjects Of Negotiation
A number of subjects will go into the negotiations process, and any of these may be questioned by an insurance company in an attempt to limit your compensation or settlement amount. A few of these subjects will commonly include:
• Coverage – Insurance companies may question if one’s policy actually covers some or all of the damages a motorist is claiming.
• Liability – While Florida is a no-fault state, an insurance company may use liability questioning to lower or limit a settlement.
• Extent of medical treatment – Insurance providers may also question the extent of your medical treatment, whether the need for this treatment was actually caused by a pre-existing condition, and if the need for recurrent treatment is necessary at all.
• Extent of injury – An insurance provider may also question the extent of an injury, and whether the injury has caused lasting or permanent damage.