If you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit, then you should be aware that most cases will settle out of court. This is because it is often more cost-effective, and quicker, to settle outside of court than take a case to trial. In order to settle, you will need to attend settlement talks. These talks are often back and forth between both sides, and may be overseen by a mediator or arbitrator. In some cases, they could just be between lawyers.
Regardless of how or when your case goes through settlement talks, you will want to make it as efficient as possible to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your claim.
Seven Things to Keep in Mind During Negotiations
While you are there negotiating a settlement, keep these key tips in mind:
- Know what is fair. If you do not know what you want to achieve out of your settlement, you cannot tell what is fair. For example, you may feel that you deserve compensation for lost wages or pain and suffering – and to you, that is a fair settlement if it compensates for those items.
- Understand your needs, and separate them from what you want. While you may want a large settlement, the reality is that you should focus on what you truly need. You will also have to do some bargaining during settlement talks – rarely will the other side give you everything that you ask for. Therefore, you and your attorney must discuss a bottom line and, most importantly, what number will meet your needs.
- Decide which alternatives could work. The reason why you are engaging in settlement talks is so that you can reach a better outcome. If you feel that going to trial may yield a higher settlement, then you can risk it.
- Figure out what the other side is trying to achieve. You need to know what your opponent wants in order to negotiate effectively. That way, you can offer what they want in return for what you want.
- Listen. While you may want to sit there and just discuss what you want, you can learn much more during settlement talks if you also listen.
- Keep emotions at bay. Do not let your emotions get the better of you. While settlement talks are extremely stressful – especially when people are putting a price on your injuries and suffering – you need to remain calm. Allowing the conversation to become too heated, or saying something that you do not mean could harm your chances for settlement.
- Listen to your attorney. You have hired an attorney; therefore, listen to what he or she has to say. Your attorney would never guide you into a settlement that wasn’t fair. It is more likely that, before you even attended your first settlement meeting, your attorney discussed with you what would be a fair settlement.
Were You Injured? Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney to help you through the settlement process. The personal injury attorneys at Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary are here to help. Schedule a consultation today by calling 509-586-7797, or contact us online with your legal questions.