Huge Mistakes Personal Injury Victims Make That Can Impact Your Settlement
January 18, 2021
If you are injured by someone’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against that party. While most personal injury cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement, there are a few common mistakes that personal injury claimants make that negatively impact the value of their settlement compensation.
Accepting the First Offer of Compensation from the Insurance Company
When you first hear back from the insurance company about your claim, you may have an insurance adjuster tell you that your claim is worth a certain amount of money. You should never accept the first number offered by the insurance company. The insurance company is going to do whatever it takes to avoid paying you any money or to pay you as little money as possible. As a result, the first offer that you receive is almost certainly not the full value of your claim or the maximum amount of money the insurance company is willing to offer for settlement.
Asking for Too Little Money
One of the most important negotiation tactics is the concept of “anchoring,” which refers to the fact that the first offer in a negotiation tends to set a range on the rest of the negotiation offers. If you put too low a dollar amount on your initial ask, you’ve effectively put a ceiling on the amount of money you are likely to receive in a settlement. If you initially ask for only $100,000, it can upend settlement negotiations if you later try to ask for a higher amount. It is always advisable to make an initial demand that allows you to negotiate downward and “anchors” the settlement offers towards a range of figures that you prefer — if you make an initial demand (supported by evidence) of $250,000, the insurance company likely won’t seem reasonable countering with an offer of $10,000.
Of course, you can’t demand more than the insurance policy limit, since the insurance company has no contractual obligation to pay more than that limit.
Accepting the Insurance Company’s Initial Denial of Your Claim
Just because the insurance company initially denies your claim outright does not mean you don’t have a valid claim. Insurance companies often try denying claims, especially if a claimant is not represented by legal counsel, just to see if they can get away with not paying the claim. However, if you have a strong, valid claim, you can almost always get the insurance company back to the negotiating table by threatening litigation or filing a lawsuit, especially if you’ve retained legal counsel.
Failing to Review All Available Insurance Coverage
Injured accident victims often fail to secure full compensation for their losses because they don’t look for all available insurance coverage. For example, if you are involved in a car accident and sustain losses greater than the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits, you may be entitled to turn to your own insurance company for additional compensation under underinsured motorist coverage in your car insurance policy (assuming you have not declined such coverage).
Not Consulting with an Expert
In some personal injury cases, you will need an expert witness to provide testimony to explain how your accident occurred or why the opposing party was at fault for your injuries. Without this testimony, you may have a legally insufficient claim. It is often advisable to retain an expert as soon as possible after your injury to review physical or location evidence before it is lost or altered. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, your attorney will often quickly bring relevant experts on board.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Quinn Logue LLC represent clients injured in Penn Hills Township, Mount Lebanon Township, Bethel Park, Scranton, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 756-3800 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 First Ave., 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, as well as offices in Scranton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.