Hurt in an accident? According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 40 million Americans make injury-related emergency room (ER) visits on an annual basis. Medical care is expensive—and an injury can cause a dramatic disruption to your life. It is imperative that you are able to secure the maximum possible financial compensation.
Most personal injury cases are resolved with a settlement rather than a jury verdict. That being said, getting a settlement can be challenging. At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, we want to ensure that you have the knowledge you need. Here, our Stockton personal injury attorney highlights nine tips that you can use to help negotiate a more favorable settlement in your personal injury case.
Tip #1: Understand the Role of the Insurance Company
As a starting point, it is crucial to comprehend the role of the insurance company in the personal injury claims process: They are not your advocate or friend in this situation—despite what their representative might imply. Insurance companies, like any business, aim to minimize their expenses and maximize their profits. Insurers often try to offer the smallest settlement possible. Knowing this fundamental aspect of the claims process can equip you with a better mindset to negotiate.
Tip #2: Seek Professional Legal Representation
It’s a common mistake to try to negotiate with an insurance company without legal representation. Remember, insurance adjusters are seasoned professionals trained to reduce the amount their companies pay out. To level the playing field, you need an experienced Stocltom, CA personal injury lawyer who knows the ins and outs of California law and has a track record of success.
Tip #3: Get Prompt Medical Attention and the Proper Ongoing/Follow-Up Care
Be ready for the insurance company to scrutinize your medical records. With this in mind, it is crucial that you seek immediate medical attention after your injury, even if it seems minor. Some injuries do not present symptoms until days or even weeks after the accident. Follow your medical provider’s advice for ongoing care to the letter. Ultimately, you will not be able to obtain the maximum insurance settlement without seeing a doctor and getting the right follow-up care.
Tip #4: Ensure that You Have the Evidence to Prove Liability
Liability is another key part of bringing a successful personal injury claim in California. You need to be prepared to prove that the other party bears fault for your accident and your injuries. Without concrete evidence, your claim may fall flat. Gather as much evidence as possible right after the accident. Examples include photos or videos of the accident scene, witness testimonies, police reports, and anything else that might prove the other party’s liability.
Tip #5: Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement Without a Lawyer
An insurance adjuster might ask for a recorded statement under the guise of it being a routine procedure. However, anything you say can be used against you to undermine your claim. Avoid giving any recorded statements without your lawyer present. An experienced Stockton, CA personal injury attorney will guide you on what to say and what not to say—thereby ensuring that your statements do not unintentionally undermine your case.
Tip #6: Thoroughly Document Your Damages
Insurers do not offer maximum settlement out of the goodness of their heart. They only do so after seeing the full extent of the victim’s damages. Be meticulous in documenting all your damages. As far as economic damages go, you may be able to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, and property losses. Maintain a file with all your receipts, invoices, pay-stubs, and anything else that quantifies your financial losses. Beyond that, you may also be entitled to recover for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Tip #7: Be Patient—An Insurer May Lead With a Lowball Settlement Offer
The first settlement offer from an insurance company is usually a lowball offer. They hope you will accept it quickly to resolve the case. Resist the temptation and be patient. Through negotiation and your Stockton personal injury lawyer’s advocacy, you could receive a much larger settlement. Remember, once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot go back and ask for more money. Before you agree to finalize an insurance settlement in a personal injury case, it is imperative that you understand the true value of your claim.
Tip #8: Know Your Right to Negotiate for Additional Compensation
You have the right to negotiate the settlement amount. The insurance company’s initial offer is not the final word. If you believe that the offer does not adequately cover your damages, you can reject it and present a counteroffer. Too many people simply accept an unfair insurance settlement because they do not believe that they will reasonably be able to access more compensation through negotiations. Doing so would be a big error. Your Stockton personal injury attorney can guide you through this process, providing advice on what is proper compensation based on your specific circumstances.
Tip #9: Do Not Forgot About Non-Economic (Intangible) Damages
In California, personal injury victims can claim non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are often harder to quantify but can significantly increase your compensation. Too many injured victims fail to get the full and fair compensation that they deserve for their non-economic losses. Work with a top-rated Stockton personal injury attorney to identify all potential non-economic damages and ensure they are included in your claim.
Contact Our Stockton, CA Personal Injury Attorney Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton personal injury lawyers have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. If you or your family member was hurt in a serious accident, we are more than ready to help you fight for the maximum settlement. Contact us right away for a no cost, no strings attached case review. From our Stockton law office, we represent injured victims all across California’s Central Valley, including in Lodi, Manteca, Sacramento, Sutter Creek, and Galt.