A lot of personal injury lawsuits aren't actually focused on who is responsible for the accident. Quite often, it's entirely clear who is responsible for the plaintiff's injuries. Where pre-trial negotiations break down, however, is when it comes to getting both parties to agree on a fair settlement for those injuries. If you're about to enter into negotiations over a settlement amount for a personal injury, this is what you should keep in mind.
1. Your medical bills count for a good portion of your settlement. In fact, they're probably the easiest part of a settlement to figure out, so long as you have fairly good records showing what doctor's visits you've had, medical tests you've undergone, or surgery that's been done. Even small things, like the cost of a support brace or a prescription co-pay, need to be calculated into your damages.
Still, you may find the defense arguing that some of the tests, procedures, office visits, or treatments either weren't directly related to your injury or weren't medically necessary. Be prepared to explain why your physician felt that each test or procedure was medically necessary by making sure that you ask your physicians questions and keep notes about your treatment. Also, make sure to confine visits regarding your injuries to visits that are separate from all other issues. For example, don't discuss your sinus infection with your doctor in the same visit your discuss your back injury -- otherwise the defense may claim that doctor's bill isn't their responsibility. Make an additional appointment to discuss all non-accident related illnesses or problems.
2. Make use of all available treatment. If you don't follow your treatment, you give the opposition a chance to say that you are exaggerating the extent of your permanent injuries. For example, if you suffer from anxiety after a head injury, you need to seek treatment with a mental health professional. Otherwise, your statement that your anxiety is "permanent" may be hard to accept. You'll have more credibility if you have sought treatment and failed. Similarly, if you have a physical injury that you claim leaves you in chronic pain, you'll have more credibility if you've already tried a variety of solutions and are working with a pain clinic.
3. Consider the use of an expert to put a value on your future lost earnings. This is particularly important for those who hold professional jobs, have degrees that could take them on a number of paths, are highly-educated, or own their own business. It can be difficult to put a value on future lost wages -- which are the wages you would have earned if your injury hadn't permanently prevented you from doing so -- especially when someone expected a long and bright career ahead of them as they matured into their field. A forensic accountant can help project your future earnings, including things like anticipated job promotions, business expansions, and so on.
The better prepared you are when you walk into negotiations, the more likely you'll walk out with a settlement instead of heading to a trial. If you do end up taking your personal injury case to trial over the settlement amount, you'll be more than ready to present your case to a jury.
For more information and help with your settlement amount, contact a personal injury attorney in your area, such as those at Blomberg Benson & Garrett.Share
22 March 2017
When my husband filed for divorce a few years ago, I knew that I didn't want to endure a legal battle on my own. I interviewed several different attorneys until I found one that I really liked, and then I really gave my case my all. I had long talks with my lawyer about everything from financial problems to the way that we organized our schedule, and she was able to create a rock-solid case from my statements. This website is all about the importance of communicating effectively with your attorney by making the right decisions. Check out these posts about lawyers so that you are better prepared for your next case.