Most personal injury cases end in a settlement, which is generally beneficial to both parties.
The defending party or insurer can often settle for less than the full legal obligation they would face should the court determine that they are completely liable for the claim. The injury victim gets the benefit of a less risky and less expensive strategy than a lawsuit while having many resources at their disposal to bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion.
Throughout the settlement process, personal injury attorneys will guide claimants strategically while helping them assemble the documentation needed to increase the strength of their injury claim. To learn more about how an experienced Maine personal injury lawyer can negotiate a settlement through their knowledge and expertise, you can read the following typical phases to the settlement negotiation process:
Evidence Gathering, Personal Injury Attorneys Send a Demand Letter
A demand letter is the first official step in pursuing compensation for your injury claim. It will lay out all the costs of your injury, including any peripheral costs or future costs, like loss of income.
Before a demand letter can be sent, however, the representing attorney must take the time to gather evidence on the case and build up a solid cadre of documentation. This documentation can include evidence from the scene of the incident — such as recorded CCTV footage, witness statements or a police report if one is available.
In addition to evidence pertaining to the injury incident, the attorney will also ensure that their client can prove the extent of their injury and its associated costs. They can recommend certain imaging, tests or even medical professionals that can thoroughly describe the injury along with the treatment regimen needed to address it. The presiding physician will also be able to attest whether or not the injury will result in long-term or permanent disability.
Once the injury victim and their lawyer fully understand the circumstances of the case and its medical implications, they will assemble a description of the claim along with any needed documentation. This will be placed within a demand letter along with the full amount of requested compensation.
The Other Party Responds to the Demand Letter
Upon receiving the demand letter, the insurer of the liable party or the party itself will have a period to respond to the demand. Frequently, they will raise objections to the claim based on the details presented and how they differ from their own interpretation of events. The plaintiff’s attorney will have the opportunity to address these discrepancies and reinforce their stated claim.
Once the defending party feels satisfied that a court may take the claim seriously, they will typically offer a low starting settlement amount as a way to test the other party’s patience. If the party wishes to settle quickly, they will accept, but likely have nowhere near enough funds to cover their own medical costs. If the claimant remains patient, they can counter the counter-offer with a more reasonable amount.
Through this process, both sides will respond with counter-offers until a satisfactory settlement amount is reached. If no settlement can be reached, the plaintiff can proceed to other legal methods, like mediation or a lawsuit.
An experienced Maine personal injury lawyer can help you through this process to increase your chances of getting the settlement you deserve. If you have been injured and wish to start a claim, call us at 207-775-3819 or fill out our free case review form.