If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s careless actions, you may be legally entitled to receiving compensation for your losses. However, before your case goes to trial, you may want to consider settling out of court beforehand.
Voluntarily resolving your case through a personal injury settlement may be more beneficial to you than taking your case to trial. Settling your case out of court will save you time and money. Yet, calculating a fair value for your settlement can be difficult, as it depends on a variety of factors. At Brylak Law, we know how to deal with the insurance company and negotiate a fair personal injury settlement.
Before You Start Negotiating With the Insurance Company
Before you begin the settlement process, make sure you seek medical attention. Your doctor will examine your injuries and determine the type and extent, as well as what medical treatment you need. Without this crucial information, you will not be able to determine your settlement’s value.
With your doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries, you and your personal injury attorney can start the settlement process.
1: Calculating Special Damages
First, you and your attorney will evaluate special damages, which are economic losses where money is the only comparable substitute. Special damages include:
- Wages lost due to the accident
- A lose in earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Damages made to property
With special damages you’ll want to not only calculate past monetary losses, but future monetary losses as well. These two types of losses can broken down in the following:
- Past monetary losses include expenses for every doctor or physical therapist you’ve visited, as well as all medication taken as treatment to your injury. You should also calculate any wages you have suffered.
- Future monetary losses include lost earning capacity, as well as any future medical expense you will encounter. Evaluating these types of losses rely heavily on the facts of your case. Typically, your injury attorney will consult a medical treatment expert to determine your future medical expenses, and an economics expert to determine an economic damage analysis of your injury’s future impact on your income and earning ability.
2: Calculating General Damages
Next, you and your attorney will evaluate general damages, or non-economic losses in which money is only a general substitute. General damages can include:
- Physical pain
- Shock or mental anguish
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of relationship or society
- Emotional distress
3: Adjusting Your Settlement Value
The amount you and your attorney have calculated from above will need to be adjusted according to these factors:
- Liability: personal injury settlements with a clearly established liability will result in a higher settlement than cases where liability is in question. If you can be partly blamed for your accident, your settlement will decrease based on the amount of your contribution of fault.
- Multiple defendants: should there be multiple defendants in your case, an issue as to how much each person should pay may arise.
- Plaintiff characteristics: characteristics such as age, occupation, prior medical history, and personality can affect the value of your settlement.
- Potential trial location: where your trial may take place can also determine your settlement’s value. For example, some areas may be more conservative than others, which tend to award lower personal injury damages than juries located in more urban communities. When negotiating your settlement, an insurance adjuster will pay attention to those potential factors.
- Damage mitigation: the injured party must mitigate damages if reasonably possible. For instance, if your medical expenses are now higher because you failed to seek treatment right after your accident, your settlement’s value will decrease due to your failure to mitigate.
4: Making Your Settlement Offer
After all the above steps, you are ready to submit your personal injury settlement demand letter to the defendant or defendant’s insurance company. Typically, there is a lot of negotiating back and forth from the insurance company and your attorney until an agreement can be reached.
If an agreement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial and a judge or jury will determine any compensation that you are owed.
Contact a Personal Injury Settlement Lawyer
To learn more about how to negotiate a personal injury settlement, the personal injury attorneys at Brylak Law can help. Call us today.