LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2018 /PRNewswire-iReach/
Sometimes a personal injury case can seem a little like bargaining at an outdoor market, because there's constant haggling between you and the insurance adjuster.
The personal injury process can be arduous, and you just want to get on with your life, but with good legal representation and a solid action plan you can receive a positive result.
Strategy is key. Here are tips from Johnson Attorney's Group, a personal injury law firm in California, for negotiating successfully.
- Control the negotiation from the start. "One of the best ways is to have a written agenda if you're having a face-to-face meeting," said ESQ James Johnson, founder and head attorney of the Johnson Attorneys Group. "Your attorney will undoubtedly have one, but when you do also, it shows that you are in control and very organized."
The agenda should include things like: confirmation of records and information that have been already been sent to the adjuster; settlement numbers; discussion of pain and suffering; client profile and defendant profile; timetable; potential jury appeal, etc.
- Never express emotions, especially anger, frustration, fear, or sorrow--and that goes especially if the other side makes a ridiculously lowball offer. It will only show weakness, and won't convince anyone to offer more money.
- Ask questions. The more you ask, the more you can find about about the other side's thinking. Don't argue. Don't question anyone's authority. For instance, if the conference begins by the adjuster saying that your demand is out of line, find out why; ask if they believe the medical records are exaggerated or why they think there should be no compensation for pain and suffering.
THINGS TO NEVER DO:
- Don't bluff or threaten. If the other side hasn't come close to your bottom line, don't yell that you'll file suit, but just do it. Here's where you MIGHT make an exception: if both parties aren't so far apart on the numbers to reach a settlement.
NOTE: Always ask your attorney first before you do anything; the other side also has access to good attorneys, so this isn't the time to for you to play "armchair attorney.".
- Don't threaten to go over someone's head. You'll just make people mad and convince them to be even more rigid. It won't do any good anyway, since the adjuster most likely was already given authority to make the offer.
- Don't make any decisions arbitrarily. Always consult your attorney first, because he or she has the skill to proceed with this kind of negotiation. Adjusters work with attorneys every day and have some of the best trial attorneys on their side.
- Don't keep negotiating when it's clearly time to stop. If an offer has been made that doesn't even come close, don't hesitate to walk away with a suggestion that negotiations continue some other time. Sometimes a little breathing room and thinking"no, not now" is better than saying "never."
"Sometimes it can be difficult to accept even the most reasonable offer even if it isn't exactly what you wanted, "said Johnson, "but remember, offer and acceptance is a contract--and it can always backfire when you turn down a reasonable offer. The best thing is to take your attorney's advice on this one."
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SOURCE Johnson Attorney’s Group