Rhode Island Automobile Accident Attorney David Slepkow sets forth the basic settlement negotiation tenets. These tactics can be used in all types of Personal Injury cases including motorcycle accidents, premises liability, rear end motor vehicle accidents and bicycle accidents.
Injury Settlement tenets
1. Its all about detailed preparation for the negotiations and documentation of the claim. It is crucial that the Insurance adjuster is provided all documentation in an organized and simple manner that is in chronological order. It is of utmost importance that a demand package is sent with a detailed settlement demand letter with supporting medical records, police report and other pertinent information. “In HEFNER v. DISTEL, 813 A.2d 66 (2003) the Rhode Island Supreme Court determined that the trial judge erred in granting a motion for a new trial because the judge issued no findings to support his decision.”
2. Always demand substantially more than you feel the Personal Injury Claim is worth. The pedestrian accident attorney can always negotiate down but it is virtually impossible to go up (unless something substantially changes) “Rhode Island Drivers who behave in this way by blatantly ignoring traffic safety laws in Providence are not only putting others at risk but are also in violation of RI law.”
3. Prior to the settlement it is important that all pertinent statutes and case law that supports the client’s case is reviewed and is readily available to provide to the adjuster. “If you live in the Rhode Island area, you may be wondering where to find the best RI personal Injury Attorney. If you have been injured in a car accident, there are many Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorneys who can help you as you move forward.”
4. Towards the end of the negotiation, always make sure the adjuster is aware of the real dollars that the client will receive after medical bills, liens and attorneys fees are paid. “In Rhode Island and in areas surrounding providence, sadly there are many Big Rig and 18 wheeler crashes. Thousands of people are killed each year across the Country in 18 wheeler and Tractor Trailer collisions.”
5. Before the negotiation get a second or third opinion from other experienced personal Injury Attorneys. It is always a good idea to bounce off ideas from people you trust. “In this case, the Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned a lower decision and decided to institute a long awaited change – and much welcomed by me and my clients – to the state’s uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy.”
6. Always be professional and civil to the adjuster but always be firm and never get personal with the adjuster if you disagree.
7. Don’t be afraid to admit weaknesses in your case but be prepared to explain them and quickly move onto other more important issues. “Once the case has been decided and settled in court, the two attorneys who have worked on your case will split the legal fee as they see fit.” http://www.ripersonalinjurylaw.com/car-accident/
8. Never forget to demand interest on the settlement and always remember anticipated and future medical expenses as a result of the accident. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, roughly 5,000 pedestrians perish and roughly 80,000 sustain a significant injury in collisions involving motor vehicles. Pedestrian accidents also cause numerous injuries and deaths in Rhode Island.”
9. Do not lose credibility in the negotiations. If you say that this is your final demand, make it is your final demand! Never say this is your final demand and then continue to negotiate lower. “If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite in RI, you should hire a Rhode Island dog bite injury attorney to seek justice and compensation in your case. Dogs are supposed to be domesticated and usually they are quite gentle with humans. When a dog attacks in Providence or surrounding towns, these vicious attacks are usually directly related to the way in which they were raised by the owner.”
10. If the Insurance Adjuster is unwilling to compensate your client fairly tell him that if you don’t receive x amount then you will file a lawsuit and then file the Personal Injury Law Suit immediately. I have seen many times that when you file, the adjuster offers more money or you get a call from a different adjuster attempting to settle the case.
11. Always personalize your client. The Insurance adjuster needs to understand that your client isn’t a number and this is a real person with real pain and suffering. Always explain how the injury affected the person’s work life and personal life
12. Make the adjuster work hard. If you settle the case too quickly it means that you probably didn’t push the adjuster hard enough to get the best car accident settlement.
13. When the adjuster makes a settlement offer never make a counteroffer too quickly. It will appear that a client is desperate and that the adjuster is in control.
14. If the adjuster is being unreasonable and low balling the injured person then reject the demand without a counterproposal and wait to see if you get another phone call. If too much time goes bye, either call the adjuster with a quip like “Are you ready to talk real numbers now?’ or file a lawsuit in Court.
15. Make sure the adjuster understands that this isn’t a auction in which you and the adjuster are just throwing around numbers. If you lower your demand make sure that there is a rational explanation for lowering your demand. This is a serious negotiation not a ping pong game! Never just say “ill meet you half way.” Negotiations is premised on bartering information and if you “split” the difference then you lose credibility because it appears that there is no real basis for the claim in the first place. This is a real person with real pain and real medical bills who has been negatively affected by the accident. “Splitting the difference” sends a message that the clients pain and suffering is not real and that this is some kind of a game.
Attorney David Slepkow
This has been a legal discussion initiated and authored by Rhode Island Auto attorney David Slepkow, Esq., of Slepkow Slepkow & Associates, Inc. He is a Rhode Island Lawyer who helps accident victims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as a Nationally Published Attorney who is honored to be a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar. If you are ever in Rhode Island or Massachusetts and are injured call him!