Settle For More: Negotiating Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted on: 26 January 2017


Suffering a serious personal injury can be devastating. Even a minor injury can rack up medical bills, lead to lost wages, and dramatically change your lifestyle. These factors are sure to weigh heavily on your mind when you're in the process of settling a personal injury lawsuit.

Here's a quick guide to help you navigate the settlement process:

Don't Settle--Negotiate

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is settling for the initial offers presented by the other side; they want to pay as little to settle your lawsuit, as much as you want to garner the maximum payout possible.

Intermediary: When presented with a settlement offer, providing a hasty response or counter offer is instinctual. It is virtually impossible not to react when you hear the details of a potential settlement offer. These sighs, grunts, or looks of excitement is like showing your cards in the middle of a poker game. If possible, always have an intermediary receive and communicate information. Whether you hire a lawyer, mediator, or some other type of intermediary, it will be far easier to negotiate your settlement objectively with a buffer in place.

Patience: In addition to giving yourself an intermediary, you should also give yourself time to consider an offer thoroughly. When you receive the offer be sure to see when it expires (typically 24-48 hours) and consider using the majority of the time allotted. Allowing yourself to use all of the time available may keep the other side guessing and will also allow you to consider the terms carefully.

Give The the Last Word

In any negotiation, the person who says the last word is almost always the one who ends up making the largest concessions. After all, you don't know how much you can earn until you try asking for it. Making the other side say the last word is a sign that they have reached their potential breaking point. This is particularly true when you've patiently waited them out (as described in the last section).

Alternatives: when you seem to reach a sticking point about how much money you're willing to settle for, you might consider asking for non-monetary alternatives. For instance, if the injury you sustained caused you suffer injuries that make your previous employment untenable, you can ask for funds to be used for job training or college tuition. These alternative forms of compensation are particularly effective when they can paid over time.  

Click here for info about working with a personal injury attorney to see that you are adequately compensated.