How Do Insurance Companies Negotiate Settlements?

If you sustained injuries in a recent accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, chances are that you will deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

However, insurance companies are not truly interested in fairly compensating you for your accident-related injuries. Rather, they will do everything they can to undervalue your case and offer you as little money as possible to settle.

To increase your chances of receiving a fair and favourable monetary settlement or litigation result in your case, you need to retain skilled legal counsel who can represent you throughout all the proceedings.

A lawyer can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances, explore your legal options, and develop a plan of action to move your case forward successfully.

Your lawyer may also handle all the necessary legal components of your case, including filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company and negotiating a fair settlement offer on your behalf.

If the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly, then your lawyer may litigate your case in the court system and work to maximize the total monetary recovery you receive for your injuries.

At every stage of the proceedings, your personal injury lawyer can answer your questions so you can make informed and intelligent decisions.

Personal Injuries Suffered in an Accident

How Do Insurance Companies Negotiate Settlements

When individuals become involved in accidents that result from others’ negligence, they may suffer extremely serious injuries that leave them incapacitated and in need of ongoing medical treatment.

In some situations, an accident victim might suffer a permanent injury, which results in lifelong pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

The specific injuries a person suffers in an accident will depend primarily upon the accident circumstances and the type of accident in which they are involved. Other factors include the amount of force involved in the accident and the location.

Some of the most common injuries that accident victims may suffer include traumatic brain and head injuries, road rash, bruises and lacerations, soft tissue neck and back contusions, internal bleeding and organ damage, rib fractures, bone fractures, mouth injuries, eye injuries, complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries, paralysis injuries, and death.

If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, seeking the medical treatment that you need to recover from your injuries should be your top priority.

During this time, while you complete your medical treatment, a personal injury lawyer can start advocating for you and gathering the necessary documents to prove your case, including your medical treatment records to date.

Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer may submit the settlement demand package to the insurance company and start negotiating fair settlement compensation for your accident-related losses.

How to Prove a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit

In any personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. The at-fault individual or entity, on the other hand, does not need to prove anything or satisfy any legal burden of proof in the case.

First, the injured accident victim must establish that the at-fault individual or entity owed them a legal duty of care. Premises owners, motor vehicle operators, and others, for example, have a duty to act reasonably and responsibly under the circumstances.

Next, the accident victim must show that the other party breached, or violated, their legal duty of care, causing the accident and subsequent injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can retain several experts to testify in the case in support of an accident victim. For example, a medical expert can causally relate the accident victim’s claimed injuries to the accident itself.

They can also establish that as a direct and proximate result of the accident, the accident victim suffered one or more permanent injuries or medical complications.

Additionally, an accident reconstructionist may show that a particular individual or entity caused or contributed to the subject accident.

The accident reconstructionist may draw their conclusions by reviewing the accident circumstances, visiting the scene of the occurrence, speaking with witnesses, and reviewing police reports. The accident reconstructionist can then draft their own report about how the accident happened and who was likely responsible.

Types of Personal Injury Cases That Result from Others’ Negligence

When other individuals and entities behave negligently and irresponsibly under the circumstances, they may cause an accident that leads to debilitating injuries. In this situation, the injured accident victim may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking various damages.

Some of the most common types of accidents that result from others’ negligence include:

If you suffered injuries in one of these occurrences that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you are not alone. Your lawyer can explore all your legal options with you and file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your lawyer can then start negotiating favourable settlement compensation on your behalf.

What Is the Settlement Negotiation Process that Insurance Companies Routinely Use?

When resolving personal injury claims through settlement, insurance companies across the board typically use a standard process.

First, they will review the settlement demand package that the accident victim’s lawyer sends to them. That package will include various documents such as medical treatment records, lost-wage documentation from their employer, injury photographs, video footage of the incident occurring in real time, property damage photographs, and photographs of the accident scene.

They will then determine whether or not to accept fault for the subject accident. If they do accept fault for the accident, then they may place a settlement offer on the table for the accident victim and their lawyer to consider.

First-time settlement offers from insurance company adjusters are usually very low and do not offer the accident victim adequate compensation. Insurance companies frequently take this approach to see if the accident victim is in a hurry to settle their claim and if they will resolve it quickly and cheaply.

After all, insurance companies are big businesses, and they are not interested in fairly compensating accident victims for their losses. Rather, insurance companies want to try to settle cases as cheaply as possible to keep their money in-house.

Settlement negotiations with insurance companies typically proceed in a back-and-forth fashion, with the accident victim’s lawyer making an initial monetary demand for settlement, the insurance company adjuster making an offer, and then back-and-forth until the parties either resolve their case or reach a standstill.

While some personal injury cases settle fairly quickly, others may take weeks, months, or even years to resolve.

A skilled personal injury lawyer will be aware of the insurance company’s tactics and can combat those tactics on your behalf. Specifically, your lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives aggressively and highlight the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses.

For example, your lawyer may point to favourable medical records and expert reports or threaten the insurance company with litigation if they refuse to increase their settlement offer adequately.

What If Your Personal Injury Case Doesn’t Settle?

Sometimes, despite persistent settlement negotiations, personal injury claims do not settle out of court. In this situation, a personal injury lawyer can explore legal options in your case and decide on the best course of action.

First, a personal injury lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf. Your lawyer can advocate for you throughout the rest of the litigation process, including answering written interrogatories on your behalf and representing you at a discovery deposition or settlement conference in the court.

If your case still has not resolved at some point during litigation, your lawyer can take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.

At a civil jury trial, the parties present evidence and the jury decides the outcome of all disputed issues in the case, including the issue of monetary compensation to award the accident victim. Instead of taking a case to trial, the parties may pursue ADR, such as mediation or binding arbitration.

For example, at a binding arbitration hearing, a neutral arbitrator will evaluate the evidence in the case and decide the issue of monetary damages.

When settling or litigating a personal injury case, you are the ultimate decision-maker. Your lawyer can advise whether you should accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or consider litigating your case in court or at an ADR proceeding.

Whatever you decide, your lawyer will aggressively fight for your legal rights and strongly advocate for you at every stage of the proceedings.

As part of a monetary settlement in a personal injury case, you may be entitled to receive monetary damages depending upon your accident circumstances.

The total value of a personal injury case depends upon various factors, including the specific injuries you suffered, the overall severity of your injuries, and any other accident-related losses you sustained.

Other factors include whether you suffered a permanent injury and whether you missed time from work after your accident (and, if so, the amount of work time and money you lost).

First, you can receive compensation for lost income if you had to miss time from work after your accident due to the physical injuries which you suffered. If you had to switch to a lower-paying job because of your injuries (such as a light-duty job), you may pursue a claim for loss of earning capacity.

In addition to recovering out-of-pocket losses stemming from the accident, victims might also be eligible to recover their non-economic damages.

These damages compensate accident victims for their intangible losses, including compensation for mental distress, physical pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of use of a body part (for example, paralysis), lost quality of life, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, lifetime or long-term care costs, permanent disability or disfigurement, and permanent scarring.

After any type of accident and injury, your priorities should be your health and legal rights. First, seek medical care and begin following a treatment plan. This ensures you have the best chance at a full recovery – or as much as possible if you have permanent injuries.

Then, protect your legal rights and financial future by seeking a free consultation with an injury lawyer. Your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize the total settlement or litigation compensation you receive for your injuries.

Talk with a Personal Injury Lawyer Near You Today

If you suffered injuries in a recent accident that a negligent individual or entity caused, you have legal rights and options available to you. However, according to the applicable statute of limitations, very strict time deadlines apply.

In Alberta, accident victims have only two years, beginning on the date of their accident, to file a personal injury lawsuit that seeks financial recovery for their injuries. In most instances, this deadline is a hard-and-fast rule.

Therefore, if the accident victim does not file a timely claim in the court system, they will not recover monetary damages for their injuries at any later date. In fact, if they later file a personal injury lawsuit, the court will promptly dismiss it, citing the applicable statute of limitations provision.

Michael Hoosein
Michael Hoosein, Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyer

Given the short timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need to involve an experienced lawyer in your case as quickly as possible. By retaining skilled legal counsel right away in your case, you increase your chances of maximizing your overall settlement compensation or litigation award.

Your lawyer can promptly investigate your accident circumstances, gather the necessary documents, assemble a claim, and negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. Moreover, if the adjuster refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can take your case to court for a favourable resolution.

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