When the personal injury claim is relatively small amount, many things change, and your chances of successfully negotiating a reasonable settlement are rare. Here are certain things worth considering while negotiating for small claims.
Insurance Companies will not Try to Avoid a Lawsuit
The insurance carrier will not have to spend much defending a small claim, compared to the off chance of a substantial verdict. For instance, the insurance company will be reluctant to pay a lawsuit cost of $7,000 for defending a claim of $12,000. However, the company will enable you to file the lawsuit rather than give the impression that they are afraid of litigation costs, especially when the claim is small. Therefore, threatening a lawsuit is not going to influence the insurance company enough to settle.
Adjusters will not Settle for More
Even though adjusters like to close files fast, they are not likely to do so, when they have to settle for more. Closing a file is quite desirable for the adjuster, since that would conclude part of his work, but he is not going to compromise on the settlement of a small claim just because it would be convenient to close the file. When the lawsuit begins, the file will be simply handed over to the defense lawyer or an attorney from the insurance company. Hence, the adjuster simply communicates with the lawyer, and does not have to do any hard work afterwards.
The insurance adjuster only has the authority to settle with a certain amount as well. If this is a serious case where thousands of dollars is involve, far passed $10,000 for instance, you may also be confronted by the insurance adjuster’s manager, perhaps the district manager. They want to make sure all their “i”s and “t”s are dotted and crossed, respectively, because this case could be sizeable. You would want to have an attorney working with you by this point.
Settlement has to be Justified
The adjuster or the supervisor has to justify the settlement figure to their superior before offering such amount or after making the settlement. Hence, the adjuster will be very careful, and will not offer a settlement that can be questioned later by a superior. Secondly, each settlement will have to be accompanied by appropriate justification and documentation in support of the settlement. Hence, in general do not expect a sterling or game changing settlement for a small personal injury claim.