How Far Should You Push Injury Settlement Negotiations?
How far to push negotiations is one of the most basic questions injury attorneys and their clients confront every day. The negotiation process supposes some level of uncertainty, and it can make accepting or rejecting a settlement offer challenging. Let's explore how injury lawyers look at this problem.
Maximum Physical Recovery
Every negotiation needs a baseline. If you don't have a number you won't go under, it's tough to negotiate.
Injury attorneys want to know what a client's maximum level of physical recovery is likely to be. This can be hard to nail down if a person is still going through surgeries or physical therapy. Consequently, a lawyer usually doesn't want to settle a case before the client's likely level of long-term recovery is apparent.
Bear in mind, you only get one settlement from a defendant. If it ends up being less than you need, there's no going back for additional compensation.
How extreme a defendant's liability was tends to inform how much an attorney and their client will demand. If a defendant was grossly negligent, reckless, or outright malicious in their conduct leading to an incident, that factors into to just how liable they are. Injury lawyers who are sure their clients would prevail if the matter went before a jury aren't going to back down if the defendant's insurer comes in with a low settlement offer.
Similarly, shared liability is a factor. This is the notion a claimant might be partly responsible for what happened. If a claimant contributed significantly to an incident, a lawyer may be more inclined to settle rather than risk losing an offer.
Traditionally, insurers and injury attorneys use a multiplier system to calculate damages beyond a victim's specific physical injuries. Pain, suffering, and trauma are common sources of multipliers in injury cases. Typically, a multiplier goes from 1.5 to 5. A victim with a 5 multiplier is someone who suffered life-altering harm that will cause suffering and pain for decades to come.
If a lawyer is confident the case supports a high multiplier, they're not going to settle as quickly. Conversely, an insurer wants to see the multiplier come down so they can save money.
Ultimately, if negotiations fail, your remaining option is to sue. The threat of a lawsuit and everything that comes from it often encourages a defendant to reconsider a settlement. You'll have the right to push for a settlement even into the trial phase of a suit.
For more information, contact a personal injury law firm, such as Carter & Fulton, P.S.