What Every Claimant Should Know About Negotiating A Settlement

A smart claimant should have in mind the minimum acceptable figure that could be offered by the opposing party, in order to pave the way for an agreement to settle. This is not a figure that should be shared with that same party, or a representative for that specific party.

Steps in negotiating process

Start by sending of demand letter: size of demand should be much greater than the figure in the claimant’s mind. The adjuster might point out weaknesses in the arguments that were presented in the demand letter. You might benefit by working with personal injury lawyer in St. Catharines, as a claimant as it will improve the presented argument. Next the adjuster will make a low offer.

The claimant responds with a counter-offer (unless that initial bid was a low-ball offer); the counter-offer should be lower than the amount originally demanded.

An exchange of offers: Each of the adjuster’s bids should be higher than the one before it; each of the claimant’s demands should be lower than the ones the preceded it. Eventually, the two negotiators will agree on a figure.

Possible change in process, if adjuster were to make low-ball bid

It would be claimant’s job to request an explanation for the logic behind such a low bid. Make request in writing. During next contact with adjuster, ask to be provided with the requested explanation.

Refusal of an explanation could be viewed as unwarranted delay. Insurance companies can be charged with “bad faith” for introducing such delays.

Questions that might arise, and slow the pace of the above process

• Questions about whether or not the referenced policy actually covers the reported accident
• Questions concerning the liability for either of the disputing parties
• Questions concerning the full extent of the claimant’s injuries
• Any question about the nature of treatment given to claimant: Was it medically necessary?
• Any question about the type of provider that was chosen by the injured party
• Any question about the amount the time spent on diagnostic procedures
• Any question about the results of the diagnosis, especially if it has been quite costly

How claimants can help the process move forward smoothly?

Have all relevant documents and all useful photographs saved in an organized fashion. Be patient, a smooth process does not have to be a fast one. A show of patience removes any sign of friction, which could slow a progression of the steps.

Be assertive, but not abusive: Demonstrate an understanding for what the adjuster is allowed to do, and what he or she should avoid doing. Carry out that demonstration of understanding by using forceful, but not strong or abusive language.

Realize this, if making contact over the phone: Speaking in an agitated voice does not represent a sincere effort to be forceful. Rather, it puts the listener ill at ease.

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