Demands and Offers: Why You May Need to Hold Out for More
A large part of a Missouri motorcycle accident attorney’s job is attempting to negotiate a settlement with the defense’s insurance carrier before it goes to trial.
Settlement talks and mediation are a big part of the claim process. Insurance adjusters may even attempt to settle the claim with a motorcycle accident victim before they have had the chance to hire an attorney. If you have recently been injured in a motorcycle crash you should put off all such conversations until after you have spoken with an attorney. Trying to negotiate a quick deal is a sign that the defense thinks you may have a good case of negligence.
Receiving the Most Possible Compensation
By retaining a Missouri motorcycle accident attorney you are helping yourself receive the most possible compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney has a good idea of what your claim is worth based on the evidence presented to him. Do not lie or withhold any facts when meeting with him. Both sides will be investigating the accident, so it is in your best interest to be upfront from the beginning.
Once both sides are ready to begin proceedings, they will share any information they have gathered with one another. This is known as discovery. An attorneys’ failure to divulge important facts about the case could weaken their chances of recovering damages.
The Negotiation Process
After discovery, both sides will begin to negotiate. The plaintiff will make a suggestion for how much compensation they believe they deserve, and the defense will usually make a lower counter offer. If an agreement cannot be reached, then they may be ordered to mediation where the negotiation process is overseen by an officer of the court.
When the Case Must Go to Trial
Sometimes mediation does not work and the case must proceed to trial. This occurred in a suit against a Missouri city, when a motorcyclist was injured inside of a work zone. The last offer made before the trial began was $500,000, but the plaintiff was firm about his demand for $1.1 million. No signs in the construction zone were in place indicating uneven pavement, and the motorcycle driver was severely injured when he lost control of his bike as he tried to change lanes. After listening to evidence from both sides, the jury found for the plaintiff in the amount of $125,000 plus an additional $1.75 million in punitive damages.
Punitive damages are one of the main reasons why defense attorneys try to avoid jury trials. These are awards given out as a way of punishing a defendant for a particularly reckless act. There is no way for a lawyer to predict whether they will be given or for how much. In the above mentioned case, the punitive damages put the award given above the amount the plaintiff had asked for during the pre-trial proceedings.
Missouri Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While there are no definitive ways to know the exact amount a case is worth, experience helps a lawyer gauge a fairly accurate estimate. While you are the person who has the final say during the negotiations, pay attention to the advice your Missouri motorcycle accident attorney is giving you. He has a better understanding of how the process works and the amount of compensation that you are entitled to.
Call the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.
Photo credit: Penn State Law
Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been wrongfully injured as a result of personal injury, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.
Contact Zevan Davidson Roman today.
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