There is no end to the number of books and advice on how to negotiate. Screenwriter and author Shonda Rhimes says, her most important negotiating rule is “Never enter a negotiation you’re not willing to walk away from.” It can be good advice for someone dealing with a personal injury claim.
Your Personal Injury Claim
There are various types of claims a person can negotiate on their own without hiring an injury lawyer in Las Vegas. Perhaps the most common type is car accidents in Las Vegas. Other types of personal injury claims a person can handle by themselves include:
- Slip or trip and falls on commercial property, at a private residence, or on a sidewalk or other public property
- Home injuries caused by defective products or dangerous conditions of a rental home
- Damages caused by a neighbor’s careless actions
- And others
Once a claim is filed, an insurance adjuster will contact you as part of the investigation. This person represents the insurance company covering the incident.
Remember, the adjuster may be a friendly person. But they are not your friend and do not represent your interests. They are motivated to accomplish three things:
1. Investigate the incident and determine if the policy covers the loss
2. Collect invoices and other documents and calculate costs
3. Settle the case quickly and for as little as possible
Use this simple rule from the first contact with an insurance adjuster — say as little as necessary. The adjuster will want to take a recorded statement from the first call. You are not obligated to give a recorded statement.
In television police dramas, the police always tell someone they are arresting that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law. The adjuster won’t caution you, but they will hold anything you say against you that they can use to diminish, if not deny, your claim.
Preparing to Negotiate
Information and facts need to be on your side. Collect and document everything relating to the incident. Here, assume it is a car wreck. The information you will want to collect includes:
- Accident Report. An official report is made if the police come to the scene. If the police are not called in Las Vegas you must file a police report within ten days of the accident, either in person or online.
- Insurance Information. Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Witnesses and Photos. Collect the names and phone numbers of witnesses. Take pictures of both vehicles and the area showing the damage and relative positions of the cars.
- Seek Medical Attention. If you or others in either car were injured, you should seek medical care. Depending on how seriously you are injured, it may take days, if not weeks, to gather all of the medical records.
The adjuster will request updated medical records. Don’t answer questions about your injuries, and let your medical records speak for themselves.
Keep records of days you miss work because of the accident. Detail your travel to and from doctor appointments and any other accident-related travel.
Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster
Using the example of a car wreck, the following are cautions when negotiating with an insurance adjuster:
- Initially, don’t give many details. If you sustained injuries, don’t tell the adjuster what they are. Say you will provide relevant medical records. It is not uncommon for people to apologize or exaggerate or say they are okay when asked if they are injured. Don’t play doctor. It is not unusual to be in shock from a car crash. After being examined, people often find they were more injured than first thought.
- Provide the police report, photos, the names of the witnesses, and all accumulated evidence in the written statement you send to the adjuster. This statement is sometimes called the demand letter.
- Do not sign anything until you have received the offer you want.
- Don’t accept the first offer. Carefully tally all of your bills and estimate any future costs due to the accident, such as medications, etc.
- Counteroffer. This is what negotiation is all about. Remember, the adjuster wants to settle the claim, too.
What then if you have to invoke Shonda Rhimes’s rule and walk away?
What a Lawyer Can Do for Your Personal Injury Claim
An injury lawyer in Las Vegas brings negotiating skills and the legal experience to press your claim to a maximum in compensation. This is particularly important if you face the following post-accident situations:
Serious injuries that require extended treatment and therapy
Job training due to catastrophic injuries impairing your ability to earn a living
Lingering emotional and mental injuries, such as PTSD
The Schnitzer Law Firm attorneys stand ready to prosecute your personal injury claim for you. If you are seriously injured, they will be your gatekeepers. You will have the time to heal and become as whole as possible — physically, mentally, and monetarily.
Call or Click Today
Learn about The Schnitzer Law Firm online at https://theschnitzerlawfirm.com/ or call (702) 960-4050 for a FREE consultation.