How Attorneys Successfully Negotiate Personal Injury Settlements

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How to Negotiate a Personal Injury Settlement

Dealing with a personal injury case? It can feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world, especially when the bills start stacking up. Finding a way to ease that financial strain might be at the top of your mind right now. Consider this: a study by Nolo showed that having a lawyer on your side more than doubles your chances of securing a settlement or award.

This guide breaks down how their expertise transforms your personal injury claim into a success story.

1. How Your Personal Injury Attorney Proves Liability

When pursuing a personal injury case, the first thing your attorney will do is prove that the other party (the one responsible for the accident) was careless or reckless. This involves collecting clear evidence to show that the at-fault party’s actions—or lack of action—directly caused the accident.

Your attorney starts by gathering essential documentation, such as accident reports from the police, statements from people who saw what happened, and photos from the accident scene.

For example, if a driver was texting and not paying attention to the road when he caused a crash, this is considered negligence because he wasn’t driving safely. Similarly, if a driver was speeding excessively in a school zone, this behavior is viewed as recklessness because it seriously violates safety norms, especially in areas where children are present.

Another example is when a property owner neglects to repair a known hazard, such as a broken step, and someone is injured as a result. This negligence stems from failing to provide the safety of the premises for visitors. Each of these cases demonstrates a lack of reasonable care that, under the law, could entitle you to compensation for your injuries.

2. How Fault Affects Your Compensation

After establishing who was at fault, it’s essential to assess how your own actions could adjust your compensation, which  is shaped significantly by state-specific negligence laws.

Comparative Negligence

In many states, your compensation can be adjusted based on your share of fault in the accident. For example, let’s say you were in a car accident where it was determined that you were 20% at fault because you were slightly speeding. If the total damages were initially $100,000, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, making it $80,000. This reduction is due to your part in the accident.

Contributory Negligence

Some states have stricter laws known as contributory negligence. Under this law, if you are found to have any fault in causing the accident—even just 1%—you could be prevented from receiving any compensation at all. For instance, if you were crossing the street outside of the crosswalk and got hit by a car, contributory negligence might mean you can’t recover damages if it’s found that your actions contributed to the accident.

Why Full Disclosure Matters

Personal injury attorneys have the difficult job of figuring out how much fault each party holds. To help you get the fairest settlement, be completely open and honest with your lawyer about every detail of your accident. Holding back information or details could significantly impact how much compensation you can receive, especially under the rules of comparative or contributory negligence.

3. Your Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Figuring out what compensation you deserve involves looking closely at how the injury has changed your life. Let’s break it down:

Medical-Related Expenses

These costs include all the medical treatment related to your injury—like hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy. Wondering how future medical costs are calculated? Your personal injury lawyer will talk to medical experts who’ll predict your future health needs and related costs. These medical reports and documentation give credibility to your projected settlement.

Loss of Earning Capacity

If your injury kept you from working, you’ve undoubtedly lost wages. But it goes beyond just counting the days you were out. What if your injury prevents you from doing your job in the future, also known as “loss of earning capacity”? In this case, your lawyer teams up with financial experts to figure out how much money you might lose over time. Together, they’ll consider various factors, including your age, career, skills, and the nature of your injuries.

Pain and Suffering

You might also face losses that deeply affect your life, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or a decrease in life enjoyment. These impacts are very real, even though they’re hard to put a ‘price on’.

Lawyers often use established formulas to estimate a fair settlement for these more subjective damages. However, non-economic damages can vary by jurisdiction and often depend on precedent (past similar cases) and the severity of your injury.

4. Reviewing the Insurance Policy

Once it’s clear that someone else was at fault for your injury, your lawyer will carefully examine the insurance policy involved. This is to determine exactly how much the insurance company might pay and what they might not cover. Here’s what they look for:

  1. Policy Limits. Each insurance policy has a maximum amount they’ll pay, known as the policy limit. For instance, if the policy limit is $100,000, that’s all the insurance will pay, even if your total damages are $150,000. If your costs exceed this amount, your lawyer will explore other ways to help you recover the full amount needed.
  2. Exclusions. These are specific conditions under which the insurance policy won’t pay out. For example, many car insurance policies won’t cover accidents that happen while the driver is under the influence of alcohol. If your case involves an exclusion like this, it could significantly affect the amount you can claim through a settlement.

5. How Your Attorney Negotiates with the Insurance Company

After assessing your case’s worth, your attorney starts settlement negotiations by sending a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter outlines the injuries you’ve suffered and the compensation you’re seeking. Often, the insurance company’s first offer is lower than what you deserve.

To secure a better settlement, your attorney leverages:

  • Strong Evidence. Demonstrating clear evidence from your case to prove how the accident happened and who is at fault.
  • Severity of Your Injuries. Detailing the seriousness of your injuries and their impact on your life.
  • Obvious Fault of the Insured Part: Making it clear that the other party was at fault due to negligence or reckless behavior.

If the initial settlement doesn’t fully cover your medical expenses or accounts for future care, your attorney may involve medical experts. These professionals can testify about your ongoing treatment requirements, so that your compensation truly reflects your medical needs.

Also, consider your state’s laws. Any fault you may share in the accident could reduce your compensation under comparative fault laws.

If the insurance company still refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, your attorney won’t hesitate to escalate the situation by threatening legal action. Often, just the threat of a lawsuit is enough to make insurers reconsider.

Often, just the possibility of a lawsuit is enough to make insurers reconsider. They’re well aware of how costly and time-consuming court cases can be, and this may prompt them to improve their offer to avoid a trial.

6. Proposing Legal Action

When your attorney threatens to take legal action against an insurance company, it becomes a significant part of the negotiation. This move shows these entities that you are serious and ready to go to court if necessary. It puts pressure on them to reconsider how much they’re willing to offer to avoid a potentially costly and public trial.

Ultimately, this strategy can effectively make insurers reevaluate their initial offer. They’ll think about the costs of going to court and the risk to their reputation. Often, this can lead to a fairer settlement for you. 


When you think about how attorneys negotiate personal injury settlements, remember, it’s a complicated process that combines detailed legal knowledge, skilled negotiation, and a deep understanding of what you need and deserve. Going through a personal injury lawsuit on your own can be intimidating, but having an attorney can greatly improve your chances of securing a fair and just settlement.

Dealing with Financial Strain While You Wait for Settlement?

Are you working with a personal injury attorney but find yourself burdened by mounting medical bills and living expenses? Pre-settlement funding might be the solution you need. This type of funding helps you manage your finances during the legal process without the unneeded stress. It’s a non-recourse loan, which means you only repay it if you win your case and receive a settlement or award.

Call us at 888-711-3599 to discover how our lawsuit funding options can support you through this uncertain time.

At Baker Street Funding, we give you the inside scoop on pre-settlement funding by covering a variety of ... financing and legal topics to help you made the best financial decision for you and for your case. Our experts break down complex ideas in a way that's easy to understand so you can stay informed on current trends as well as tips and fact checked information by the CEO and founder, Daniel Digiaimo. Furthermore, Despite its name, consumer legal funding is not a loan. If you don't win your case, no payment needs to be made back. To avoid confusion and simplify matters on, we'll use the word "loan" throughout this article.

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