There are many ways attorneys assist injured claimants in personal injury negotiations. Some of these are readily apparent, while others are more behind the scenes.
Injured claimants can benefit greatly by having attorneys handle their personal injury negotiations. Obviously, the goal of an injured claimant is to obtain a fair and equitable settlement of their case in a reasonable period of time. Getting top dollar for a case, and how long that takes, often depends on the complexity and severity of the matter. This includes the nature of the injuries sustained as well as the legal issues in the case.
In a case of soft tissue injuries only, with no serious, permanent injuries, lawyers may be able to help clients reach a settlement rather expeditiously. In these types of cases, the injured plaintiff will usually need to conclude treatment before the case can be settled. This is because once the treatment is concluded, the nature and extent of the plaintiffs injuries will be known. Additionally, the amount of the medical special damages can then be ascertained. The medical special damages would include the amount of the injured claimant’s medical bills for treatment of the injuries sustained in the accident at bar.
Unfortunately, for claimants dealing with insurance adjusters directly, the amount of special damages, including medical specials, is going to be a target figure for those adjusters. The insurance adjusters would dearly like to settle claims for as close to the amount of the medical bills as possible. The assistance of an attorney is useful in avoiding this trap.
Insurance adjusters will set reserves in the case as soon as they get wind of the claim. Cases with individuals representing themselves can have lower reserves set for them which is a reflection of their inherent lack of negotiating strength. When attorneys enter personal injury negotiations, the reserves set for a case can be enhanced.
The reason for this is, again, the inherent power of an attorney’s negotiating position versus that of an individual, unrepresented claimant. Many factors can and will go in to an attorney’s personal injury negotiations which can raise the value of the case. An attorney will account for all special damages that may exist in a case, including, but not limited to, medical bills, any future medical expenses anticipated, lost wages, and other expenses the plaintiff incurred as a result of the accident.
In personal injury negotiations, the attorney will assist client in documenting the claim by acquiring all medical bills and medical records in the client’s treatment. The attorney can also obtain a narrative report from the injured party’s treating physician in order to present expert opinion and analysis to the insurance adjuster which ties together the medical bills and treatment as it pertains to the client’s injuries received in the accident at issue. The narrative report will also be useful in establishing the general damages in the case such as pain and suffering as well as recovery for any future impairment.
Attorneys will additionally address other general damages in the case which include, but are not limited to, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. These general damages are often an enhanced amount reflecting the nature and extent of the client’s injuries, legal theories of recovery, and the defendant’s liability in the case. The attorney will present legal theories of recovery and address issues of liability which will be crucial in enhancing the amount of the general damages and, thus, the ultimate settlement in the case. The general damages in a personal injury case can lead to a significant recovery well beyond the special damages in the case. Additionally, establishing those general damages is where attorneys give clients a significant advantage in personal injury negotiations.