Miami Personal Injury Lawyers Committed to Negotiating Favorable Settlement Agreements
As an accident victim, it’s important to understand that the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court after negotiations. If you attempt to negotiate your own settlement in an accident case, whether you are going against the other party’s attorney or an insurance adjuster, there is someone in the room who has engaged in hundreds of such negotiations, and someone who hasn’t. Guess which one you are?
The fact of the matter is, the guy on the other side of the negotiation is likely to be better at this than you are. A lot better. The other guy negotiates for a living. You likely don’t, and even if you do, it is unlikely that you are a professional settlement negotiator. Given that imbalance of power, perhaps you should reconsider negotiating your own accident settlement. You rarely see a professional athlete try to negotiate his own contract, and you even more rarely see it turn out well. Look at Joe Theismann, who tried to negotiate his own first football contract and later famously wrote his younger self a letter, telling himself, “You’re not as good at negotiating as you think you are.” It was true about the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and it’s true about you. So who should you turn to?
Attorneys are, by Profession, Negotiators
Negotiating is what attorneys do. Be it a contract negotiation, a merger or corporate purchase, a personal injury claim, or a criminal plea bargain, negotiation often is at the heart of an attorney’s job. Attorneys who aren’t good negotiators are rarely good attorneys. Negotiating is far and away the most common skill used by attorneys to obtain what it is their client wants. So why would you not turn to an attorney to negotiate for you in an accident settlement case? After all, consider this:
- At least 95 percent of civil claims never go to trial and are settled by negotiation.
- Even when a civil claim goes to trial, few ever go to a verdict by a judge or jury, settling by negotiation during trial or after the trial but before a verdict. Even those that go to a verdict frequently are settled by negotiation while an appeal is pending.
- Name a business relationship – contract, partnership, whatever – and a negotiation is behind it.
- In criminal cases, the very name “plea bargain” makes it implicit that a negotiation was involved.
Negotiating is what attorneys do, no matter in what field they practice. When your attorney goes up against an insurance adjuster or the defendant’s attorney in your accident claim, both of them know the important issues, both of law and fact, and they face off as more-or-less equals. If you have chosen well, they aren’t exactly equals, and your attorney will obtain a better deal. It is highly likely, though, that your attorney will obtain a better settlement after negotiations than you would have.
Just as a beginning point, the modern legal system is so complex that you are unlikely to be able to successfully go forward with an injury claim without legal help. You will either be facing the defendant’s attorney or insurance adjuster, both of whom know more about the law of accidents, how to negotiate, and the value of your claim than you do. Add into that the fact that the attorney or insurance adjuster is an experienced negotiator who is not on your side, and you should be looking for the best help you can find.
Your Attorney Should Know the Rules of Negotiating When Pursuing Your Settlement
Negotiating might be a talent that some people come by naturally, but it is at least as much a skill that is learned and honed through practice and repetition. In fact, there are rules that many of the best negotiators follow to achieve success. For many negotiators, these rules include:
If information is power, then you better have it: Knowing the facts of both your position and the other side’s position is critical to a successful negotiation. That way, you aren’t blind-sided by your opponent’s strengths.
Know what your leverage is and use it: When there is a weakness in your opponent’s case, you can bet they know what it is. Your negotiator needs to know that, too, and keep pressing on the weak point until your opponent recognizes that they better settle rather than lose at trial.
Negotiate using fair and objective criteria: No one wants to agree to a settlement that is or appears to be unfair. While it is possible to negotiate a successful or favorable settlement, it is important that the reasons you put forward to achieve that settlement appear to be fair to both sides. This could include something along the lines of, well, the accident was your client’s fault, and these are the damages with supporting evidence.
Combine offers with concessions: Giving something up makes the other side more willing to agree to a position somewhere in the middle. Making reasonable concessions can be proof of good faith and help reach a settlement that is more toward your side of the equation than strictly right down the middle.
Know what the agenda is and control it: Both sides in a negotiation have an agenda. In most negotiations of an accident settlement, for instance, the negotiations are taking place because the other side knows the fault lies with them, and their agenda is to minimize how much they have to pay out. Knowing that can enable your negotiator to use other factors – such as the implicit threat of going to trial and the accompanying possibility of losing big – to control the negotiations and drive the other side toward a favorable settlement.
When You Find Yourself with a Need to Negotiate a Settlement, Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Who Can Do the Job Right
Successful negotiations don’t just happen. They depend upon the participation of successful negotiators. If you find yourself facing a settlement negotiation of an accident claim, get someone who knows how to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. Flagler Personal Injury Group services the greater Miami area.