How to make an injury claim
How to File a Car Accident Claim on the FreeAdvice website provides a helpful overview of the claims process. The article incorporates useful tips to help injury victims avoid saying or doing things that might jeopardize a claim. For example, the article cautions victims to:
- Be careful about what you say when you report your claim.
- Be patient and make sure your injuries have healed before you settle, even if you think a single doctorâ€™s visit is all you will need.
- Avoid signing a release of liability until you are satisfied that the settlement you receive is sufficient to cover all the losses that are likely to arise from the accident.
The article also includes tips about making settlement demands and negotiating a final settlement. While there are other articles on the web that discuss the claims process, this one has the advantage of being concise while containing a wealth of practical information.
How to draft a demand letter
Negotiating a satisfactory personal injury settlement begins with a good demand letter. A demand letter is an offer to settle an injury claim for a specified sum of money.
The Personal Injury Demand Letter post on the Injury Claim Coach website identifies the crucial elements of a demand letter. It also provides tips that will help you fashion persuasive arguments that will be difficult for the insurance adjuster to refute.
The Injury Claim Coach article differs from several others that cover similar ground by including a sample demand letter. The sample is brief but direct. By studying that sample, injury victims will gain an understanding of both the format and the tone of a well-written demand letter.
How to calculate settlement value
Valuing a personal injury claim is more of an art than a science. Lawyers rely on their experience and their knowledge of local jury verdicts to predict the amount of compensation a jury would award. They also take into account the risk of losing a trial, the degree to which the injury victim shared responsibility for the accident, and the expense of taking the case to trial.
One of the most useful articles on the web that gives injury victims a sense of how to value their own cases is Calculate Your Personal Injury Settlement Value on the AllLaw website. Some aspects of a compensation claim are easy to calculate (such as medical expenses and lost wages) while others (including pain and suffering and emotional distress) are more difficult. The AllLaw article includes a valuable discussion of the multipliers that lawyers and insurance adjusters often use to place a rough value on noneconomic damages.
Importantly, the AllLaw article emphasizes that multipliers are a starting point, not a magic formula. Lawyers adjust multipliers as well as the final result after taking a variety of factors into account, including the nature of the accident and whether the injury victim and the person who caused the accident would be sympathetic witnesses if the claim were to be presented to a jury. Multipliers are nevertheless a common tool to help value a personal injury claim.
How to negotiate with an insurance adjuster
Negotiation is a skill. Personal injury lawyers refine that skill over many years of negotiating with claims adjusters and insurance company lawyers. If you settle your own claim, you will need to consider some basic rules of successful negotiation.
The Nolo website’s article on How the Negotiation Process Works in an Injury Case provides some basic information about the negotiating process. In addition to explaining the concepts of liability and damages that are the keys to negotiation, the article reminds readers to be:
- calm, and
Nolo articles tend to be short but this one links to a related article, Tips for Negotiating With an Insurance Company, that expands on successful negotiation strategies. Reading the two articles together will give you valuable insight into the approach you should take to negotiating a resolution of your injury claim.
How to choose a personal injury lawyer
In many cases, finding the personal injury lawyer who is right for you comes down to a gut feeling. You want to hire someone with experience and a track record of success, but you also want to feel comfortable with the lawyer you hire.
Many articles on the web offer sensible but basic advice for choosing a personal injury lawyer. The Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer article on the ExpertLaw website is more comprehensive than most. It discusses, among other topics.
- Whether you need a lawyer
- Contingent fees a lawyer may charge
- How to find attorneys
- Whether you should rely on attorney advertising
- Questions you should ask when you interview attorneys about your case
The article also provides some helpful advice about dealing with disputes and other problems that might arise after you hire a personal injury attorney.