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How Personal Injury Settlements Are Negotiated

Most personal injury cases never make their way into courtrooms. The majority of personal injury settlements are resolved long before a courtroom could. Personal injury settlements are a preferable conclusion to personal injury cases because individuals can obtain their money faster than a courtroom ever could with the additional perk of no wasted time or funds on a potentially lengthy lawsuit.

When seeking a personal injury attorney, the most vital skill to inquire about is their ability to negotiate. An effective negotiation strategy is critical in receiving the settlement you deserve.

Calculating Case Worth

This is one of the most important parts of any settlement. Attorneys with experience will be able to provide you with a general idea of what to expect financially based on your injuries and related losses. Two main sectors in determining case worth are special and general damages and are explained in more depth below.

Special damages are known as economic losses; damages for which money is only a comparable substitution for what was lost. This is frequently referred to as “out-of-pocket loss” rule and can include:

  • Lost earning capacity
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses

General damages, known as non-economic losses are losses for which money is rough substitute, they include:

  • Loss of reputation
  • Shock and mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Humiliation and embarrassment
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship

General damages are typically equal to 1.5-5x special damages, as determined per the extent of injury.

Presenting an Offer

After much meticulous work, this step involves presenting a demand to the insurance company or other responsible party. It involves writing a detailed letter stating facts and explains your case and why you believe the insurance company or private party to be responsible, entitling you to compensation.

Itemized lists of damages can be provided, if available. Actual dollar amounts can be included in passing, such as indicating future medical treatment related to the injury. The letter should disclose a specific monetary amount you are willing to accept for the claim. Most attorneys suggest you “aim high” to begin with, allowing for more room in the negotiation process. However, you should only do this at the advice of your attorney as each case is unique.


Expect a counteroffer after the insurance company or opposing party have looked over your initial offer and conducted their own research. Counter offers usually reject your initial offer while proposing a new one. The counteroffer may respond to your points and/or include new ones. Counteroffers are usually low, providing room for negotiation between the two parties until they both agree on a monetary amount. If the two parties cannot agree, the claim will be litigated, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.

At Avalon Personal Injury, we focus on your personal care so you can focus on your case. As partners with Kerlan-Jobe, we provide a comprehensive and transparent all-encompassing team, managing the legalities and personal care associated with personal injury. Schedule with one of our surgeons today, (818) 638-3112.