Negotiating a Personal Injury Settlement
Sustaining an injury in an accident can be costly: It’s costly on your time, on your health and oftentimes on your family life.
If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the economic and emotional pain caused. Central to this is the idea of negligence. In Florida, to win a personal injury claim, you have to prove that this concept was at play in your specific case. To do so, you have to prove that the defendant was responsible for your well-being and care in a certain way. If they failed to provide that responsibility and you were injured as a result, they may have been negligent.
Most personal injury claims and lawsuits end in settlement, meaning the two parties come to a mutually agreed upon deal to resolve the issue. Settlement can be an attractive option to some individuals who’ve been injured, as it reduces the time and money spent in fighting the case. It’s not always the best solution, which is a good reason to contact a lawyer to discuss your options and ensure you’re receiving the best possible settlement or outcome.
Before Discussing a Settlement
Before determining the case’s resolution, you must first find out from a doctor the extent of your injuries. In any personal injury case, seeking out medical care and getting appropriate documentation of all of your injuries and their extent should be the first step. This will help you determine the amount you should argue for in any settlement proceedings. Once this is in hand, you and your lawyer can move forward with a settlement — or, if you cannot come to one, a lawsuit.
Determining the Special Damages (Economic Damages)
Special damages are all of the expenses you can put an exact price tag to. These include things like:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Lost future wages; and,
- Property damages.
Determining General Damages
General damages, on the other hand, are the expenses that are more intangible. This is why general damages are also referred to as non-economic damages or losses. Types of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of companionship or consortium;
- Mental anguish;
- Humiliation; and,
- Emotional pain.
Determining the Value of Your Claim
Once you have all the damages assembled, you must adjust the value of your claim based on a few factors. These include:
- Mitigating damages: If a plaintiff can reasonably cut costs in their injury care, they must do so;
- Liability: If the plaintiff is partly to blame for the incident, the damages awarded may be reduced;
- More than one defendant: If there is more than one defendant in the case, it may require some additional negotiating to figure out who should pay what; and
- Plaintiff characteristics: A plaintiff’s age, job, medical history and other factors can be evaluated and effect the final settlement value.
Make the Settlement Offer
Once you have the final number and settlement demands, you should send it to the defendant and/or the defendant’s insurance provider. There will likely be some negotiation at this point with the insurer. If you’re unable to come to a mutually agreed upon settlement, you can then opt to go to trial to prove your case.
Contact Boone & Davis
If you are calculating your personal injury claim and need some help, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale today. We are prepared to advocate on your behalf and help you recover the compensation you deserve.