If you’re injured in an accident caused by someone else, you’re likely entitled to compensation for your losses. That said, getting the compensation you deserve can be difficult. 

The at-fault party is often unwilling to accept fault, and their insurance company will work hard to minimize settlement payments to victims. 

A personal injury lawyer is familiar with this process and advocates for clients to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. A big part of a personal injury lawyer’s role is negotiation. 

While each personal injury case is different, the basic procedure is the same. To help accident victims understand the process, here’s an overview of how personal injury cases work and the role that negotiation plays in each stage. 

Investigation and Gathering Evidence 

Investigation and Gathering Evidence 

The first thing your personal injury lawyer will do is investigate your case to determine who was responsible for your injury. This includes gathering evidence to support your claim. 

This phase of the investigation is done to set victims up for success in future negotiations. 

In addition to gathering evidence to determine who was at fault, personal injury lawyers also gather evidence to support a claim for damages.

Examples of the types of economic and non-economic damages available include: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Physical therapy, rehabilitation, and home care expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity 
  • Emotional distress and emotional anguish
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Decreased quality of life 
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Property damage
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Loss of consortium 

A skilled personal injury attorney can assess your damages and help you pursue all available compensation. 

Evidence that helps support a claim for damages includes: 

  • Medical bills 
  • Medical diagnoses
  • Doctor testimony 
  • Employment records 
  • Employer testimony
  • Expert witness reports and testimony 

Having solid evidence and documentation puts lawyers and their clients in a good position to recover compensation. 

Demand Letter 

Once your team has gathered evidence about fault and damages, they’ll contact the at-fault party’s insurance company. This is done through a demand letter or demand package. 

In this communication, your lawyer will outline all damages and submit a claim for that amount. The demand package will include key evidence to support this claim. 

Negotiating With an Insurance Adjuster

After receiving the demand letter, the insurance adjuster will accept, reject, or counter. This is when your personal injury lawyer will use negotiation to ensure you get a fair settlement. 

Your lawyer will use the evidence gathered to support your claim and to ensure the insurance company offers a fair settlement. 

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit 

If necessary, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit. When your team has presented a strong argument for your claim, supported by facts and evidence, insurance companies will be motivated to make a fair settlement offer and avoid court. 

That said, if needed, your team will file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party or their insurance company. Your personal injury lawyer will pay attention to the statute of limitations and ensure that your lawsuit is filed on time. 

The threat of going to court is an important part of the negotiation process, and experienced lawyers use this in negotiations to ensure insurance companies make a fair settlement offer. 

Factors That Impact Negotiations in Personal Injury Cases 

Factors that can impact negotiations include the following: 

  • Policy limits. The at-fault insurance company is only responsible for amounts within the policy limits. If the victim’s damages exceed this amount, the victim will have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. 
  • Comparative fault. In South Carolina, individuals who are partly at fault for an accident can recover if they’re not more than 49% at fault. That said, their recovery will be reduced based on their fault. In addition, insurance companies will work hard to argue that the injured party was more than 49% at fault. These cases are often complex and take longer. 
  • Statute of limitations. In South Carolina, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within three years of an accident. If the statute of limitations is about to run, it can end negotiations because the injured party has to file a lawsuit to preserve this right. If the statute of limitations has already been passed, negotiations will also be affected. In these circumstances, the injured party will not be able to leverage the potential of a lawsuit to get the insurance company to make a fair settlement. 

Personal injury lawyers understand how to negotiate with insurance companies and know the evidence necessary to strengthen your case. 

Contact a Rock Hill Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More 

If you’ve been injured in a Rock Hill accident, contact a personal injury lawyer at Elrod Pope Accident & Injury Attorneys as soon as possible. Many offer free consultations to learn about your case. In this consultation, they’ll hear about your accident, discuss your options for recovery, and give you a personalized strategy that can help with the negotiation process. Call us at (803) 902-4045.