A demanda por lesiones personales is the law’s way of “making you whole” after an accident. In an ideal situation, a lawsuit should offset your losses in a way that minimizes the effect of your injuries on your life as much as possible – as if those injuries never happened.
Of course, many injuries cannot actually be fully undone. Some injury victims must live with lifelong effects on their mobility, mental health, and lives. The next best thing that the law can offer injury victims is compensación financiera to make up for these effects. So you can interponer una demanda against the person whose negligent or reckless actions caused your injuries.
Some personal injury lawsuits go to trial to get resolved by a court judgment. But until the moment a judge enters an official decision, you and the person responsible for your injuries can negotiate a settlement agreement to resolve your case on your own terms.
Getting the maximum possible settlement from your personal injury case requires the negotiation skills of an experienced attorney. Having a lawyer on your side makes it much more likely for you to get the actual amount you deserve in a settlement agreement.
The truth is, insurance companies say they’re on your side but their main priority is profits for shareholders. That means the less they pay you, the better. So even if you expect insurance to cover your injuries after an accident, your insurance adjuster will likely try to minimize your damages or deny your claims in any way possible. Your insurance company may offer you a quick but lowball settlement as a way to avoid paying you what you’re owed.
What Is a Reasonable Settlement Offer?
A proper personal injury settlement should cover your losses not just in the present but in the future, too – especially if you expect you’ll need long-term treatment or intensive care. Your payout should also include any income you lose if you become unable to work. You should never sign a settlement agreement without talking to an attorney first.
Accidents happen every day in Stockton and the Central Valley because of the heavy traffic that flows through the region. A good abogado de lesiones personales can help you get the compensation you deserve so that you can focus fully on your recovery.
How to Negotiate a Personal Injury Settlement
First, you should always talk to your lawyer before talking to your insurance company. In fact, in many cases, your attorney can take care of dealing with insurance companies for you. And insurance companies can’t take advantage of a good lawyer with their usual tricks.
The stronger a case you can present to a court, the better you can negotiate a settlement. If you can convince your insurance company that you’ll win in court, they’ll be much more likely to offer an appropriate settlement amount instead of risk you being right.
1. Protect Your Medical Privacy
Your insurance adjuster may position themselves as your friend, someone who’s only there to help. But their real job is to find any way to reduce your insurance payout. They may ask you questions about your medical history or for medical records from your accident.
Many insurance companies will try to get you to sign a medical release form allowing them to access information about your medical history from decades ago. They’ll use whatever they can find – a prior injury or diagnosis – to try to avoid responsibility.
You do no have to talk to your insurance company about your health or the accident. It’s best to leave all of that communication to your lawyer. Even if you piense en the information you give will help, your insurance company will try to twist what you say against you.
When in doubt, protect your privacy and ask your attorney what to do.
2. Calculate Your Total Damages
Before you start negotiating, you must get an accurate calculation of exactly how much your injuries will cost you and your family over your lifetime. This is called your daños.
- “Special” or economic damages cover financial losses like medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury, and any wages you lose because you cannot work. These damages cover the past, present, y future – so your settlement should include any long-term costs you can expect down the line. An experienced attorney can help you calculate potential costs based on the severity of your injuries.
- “General” or non-economic damages cover losses beyond the financial, like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are much less concrete than economic damages, but a skilled Stockton personal injury lawyer will know how to quantify them into a dollar amount that accurately reflects your situation.
California sometimes allows injury victims to also recover daños punitivosque tienen por objeto castigar the person responsible for especially bad behavior.
3. Present Evidence to Prove Your Claims
The most important part of any personal injury lawsuit is pruebas. The stronger and more convincing your evidence, the more likely you are to get a good settlement.
Think of it this way: if you convince the opposing party that you have strong enough evidence to win against them in court, they won’t want to face off against you in a trial because they know they’ll lose. And a judge or jury may award you a much harsher judgment.
As a result, the responsible party will be much more likely to come to the negotiation table with offers that you’ll actually accept instead of taking the case to trial. The more robust your evidence, the greater bargaining power you bring to the settlement negotiation table.
How to Increase the Value of a Settlement
The person responsible for your injuries or their insurance company may try to make excuses for why they’re offering a low settlement offer, like:
- They’re not entirely responsible for your injuries
- You waited too long after the accident to see a doctor
- You’re suffering from a previous injury or an underlying condition
- You don’t actually need treatment as extensive as you claim
- You took off too much time from work considering your condition
- You’re asking too much for pain and suffering
The right evidence can push back against these arguments: detailed medical records, analyses of the scene of the accident, doctor’s diagnosis and notes, expert testimony, and receipts and notes from mental health care sessions can all prove the real value of your damages.
At Sepulveda Law Group, we can help. Pulse aquí to talk to our talented attorneys now about getting you the personal injury settlement you deserve.