At some point after presenting your entire claim to the insurance adjuster, you will get an offer of some sort. Usually, it will be much less than you were hoping. In my experience, it will be about half of what you were hoping for. You should discuss the offer with your lawyer. An attorney who has a great deal of experience in the area of personal injury should be helpful in determining the ballpark settlement value for your case. As a former defense attorney and now a plaintiff's attorney, I've seen all kinds of cases cross my desk. As such, you start to get a good sense of not only what the case is worth, but what a jury might do with the case.
After evaluating all factors, your attorney will discuss the case with you to come to a possible acceptable settlement range. Once you both have come to an agreement upon a general settlement range, your attorney will continue negotiating with the insurance company in hope that they will pay within the settlement range. Sometimes, you get a reasonable adjuster who will negotiate with you and work with your lawyer in an amicable fashion. Sometimes, you get an adjuster who is just generally angry with the world (something happened during their childhood), and all they want to do is even the score - regardless who they are dealing with.
Your lawyer is not a miracle worker. There is going to come a breaking point at which the adjuster will offer no more money. They will essentially draw a line in the sand. At that point, the lawyer and the client will have to talk numbers. Will there be enough money to pay off the doctors and other lien-holders? Will there be enough to pay the attorney fees and pay the client as well? If the final numbers are acceptable (even if you're not crazy about the final numbers), then you should settle the case. Remember, in most cases the settlement amount will not be what you had in mind. If you are working with an experienced lawyer, then you will probably have reasonable expectations. You won't take things personally, and you will work to get a number that works. If the numbers still won't work out, then you and your lawyer will have to figure out whether or not filing a lawsuit against the responsible party makes sense.
If you want to discuss your personal injury case, please call attorney Robert Mansour at (661) 414-7100 for a consultation. Also, please read the other blog posts, FAQ and library entries for more information.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,