We have developed a series of key personal injury case reports designed to ensure the most thorough development of the case, the education of our clients about all aspects of their cases and the value of their cases and the presentation of a forceful settlement demand that leads to fast and full value settlements. There are three key documents in this process;
We want to take a closer look at our Settlement Proposal which sets the stage for successful negotiation of a personal injury case.
The Starting Place for Settlement Talks: The Settlement Proposal
In our law firm, we will not enter into settlement talks until we fully assess a case and review that Case Assessment with our client. We then present the other side with a Settlement Proposal. This Proposal has four key sections:
- A Review of the Facts
- A Presentation of Our Theory of Liability
- An Assessment of Damages
- A Settlement Demand
We also attach all the relevant supporting documents such as medical records, evidence of lost wages and bills showing uncovered medical expenses.
We always open with a review of the facts of the case that includes details such as the time, date and location of an incident as well as a narrative of events. We start with the facts to frame the case as we see it and to demonstrate to the other side the thoroughness of our investigation.
Our theory of liability states the basis in law for our claim and then outlines how we will prove it at trial. Again, we frame the issues of the case and demonstrate the vigor and thoroughness of our preparation.
Our assessment of damages incorporates our nurse’s chronological review of diagnosis and treatment and research on the nature and impact of the main physical injuries. We also summarize the claim for other damages such as lost wages or uncovered medical expenses. We then review the case law, showing the verdicts and settlements for cases with similar injuries.
We conclude the Settlement Proposal by stating our settlement demand. We have several objectives with our Settlement Proposal:
- We want to frame the issues of the case. We want the narrative of the case to be one we set, not one set by the insurance company.
- We want to establish the starting point of the negotiations with our demand, not the offer of the insurance company.
- We want to provide the other side with all the information they need to assess a claim and make an offer.
- We want to demonstrate the thoroughness of our case preparation and the rigor of our legal work. Adjusters are accustomed to receiving terse letters with a settlement demand and are impressed when they open our 15 to 20 page presentation that is well-researched and meticulously presented.
- We want to drive the settlement process.
Dropping the Anchor for Settlement Talks by Going First
We want to make the opening settlement demand – as opposed to waiting to hear from the insurance company – because we want to set the anchor with our demand so that all future offers are made in relation to our opening offer. We are students of negotiation and many studies – including those at the Harvard Program for Negotiations – have documented the importance of setting the anchor around which negotiations revolve. (Mark studied with Professor Howard Raiffa, one of the founders of the negotiations program at Harvard). The initial demand becomes “the anchor” which pulls all future discussion towards it. As with a ship’s anchor, it is hard to pull completely away from an opening offer. Research shows that setting a high initial offer leads to higher counter offers. Every aspect of what we do is aimed to achieve greater compensation for our clients.
Our Settlement Proposals: A Source of Strength
At a recent talk on legal strategy, we heard an attorney encouraging a different approach. He advocating waiting for the insurance company to make the first offer because he thought that going first marked a sign of weakness. Far from showing weakness, our Settlement Proposal demonstrates our strength. We want to be the aggressor in fighting for our clients. We do not want to wait on the insurance company; we want to force the issue. Our Settlement Proposal displays just how good our work is and how strong a case we have. We want the insurance company to see how well we have developed our case and the thoroughness of our presentation.
The Impact of Our Settlement Proposals: Pushing for Faster Settlements with Higher Compensation
We routinely hear from insurance adjusters and defense attorneys that they have never seen anything like our Settlement Proposal. It is a complete and imposing package that it makes it easy for them to find what they need to assess a case and gives them the facts and evidence to support an offer. In fact, we recently had another personal injury firm contact us to ask if they could hire our firm to prepare settlement packages for them. (We said no, we only work for our clients.)
What matters most are the results that we deliver for our clients. Not every insurance company or defendant will engage in settlement talks and not every case will settle. We do know that our Settlement Packages lay the foundation that enables us to settle cases quickly and at good value for our clients. For example, we just settled a trip and fall case for full value within two weeks of the adjuster receiving our Settlement Package. This week, we settled a pedestrian knockdown case with two insurance companies offering their full policy (one for the car owner and one for the driver) within five days of receiving the Settlement Package. Right before that, we settled a trip and fall case for $100,000 less than four weeks after the adjuster received the Settlement Package.
It is true that past results do not guarantee future outcomes. These results do not guarantee that we would settle your case in two weeks as each case has its own fact pattern and conditions, but we will use our Settlement Package to fight for a fast settlement with the highest compensation. That we do all we can for our clients is a guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in personal injury matter, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with construction and work place cases. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. The consultation is always free.
The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
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This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.
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