Imagine a scenario where you and another person disagree about something you want. You believe the law is on your side and that you are entitled to the thing you want. However, the other person does not agree and thinks that they should have the thing.

Neither of you wants to take the matter to court if you can avoid it. So, what can you do? 

You can negotiate. Negotiation is a process where both parties engage in discussion, hoping to find a mutually acceptable resolution. More often than not, the solution involves some form of compromise. This is the essence of negotiation, a delicate art that demands considerable skill and finesse.

The outcome of negotiation often hinges on your level of preparation before you even take a seat at the bargaining table. It’s important to understand the intricacies of the negotiation process, exploring each stage from start to finish.

It is wise to seek the representation of an experienced negotiation attorney instead of trying to negotiate your case on your own. 

Consulting With an Attorney

To get started, schedule a free consultation with an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney. If you decide you want the lawyer to represent you, they will decide whether or not to take on your case. 

Personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they do not get paid unless you do. For that reason, they will not take your case if they don’t believe they can win it. They don’t want to waste their time on a case that they won’t get paid for. 

Your attorney will also evaluate how much they think your case is worth. In other words, based on their experience, they will decide how much money you are likely to receive for your case. 

If a personal injury lawyer takes on your case, they believe they can win it. 

Evaluating Your Case

Some of the steps your personal injury lawyer will take to evaluate your case include:

  • Getting a copy of the police report
  • Getting a copy of your medical bills and records
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Reviewing photographs and video evidence

Your personal injury attorney will investigate your case to determine its value and to gather the evidence needed to prove your claims.

The Types of Compensation a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Negotiate For

The value of your case is determined by your damages. 

You may have three types of damages:

  1. Economic damages
  2. Non-economic damages
  3. Punitive damages

Your economic damages will include your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any property damage. These damages can be easily calculated. 

Non-economic damages include your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and other factors that do not have a specific dollar amount attached to them. These types of damages are not as easily calculated and usually require more skillful negotiation.

Punitive damages are not commonly awarded. However, under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to receive them. An experienced personal injury attorney should guide you in deciding whether you may be able to get punitive damages. These damages are typically only awarded if your case goes to trial. 

Sending a Demand Letter for Your Claims

Your personal injury attorney will usually begin the negotiations by sending a demand letter to any insurance companies that provide coverage for your damages. This letter will state your claims and back them up with a summary of your case, copies of your medical bills and expenses, and citing the relevant law. 

The demand letter will also demand payment to settle your claims. When the insurance company receives your demand letter, they will usually send a reservation of rights letter to you stating that they have the right to deny your claim if your claims are not valid.

Offers and Counteroffers

You should expect the insurance company to make a low initial offer to settle your claims. Generally, you should reject the first offer they make. 

Your attorney and the insurance company may go back and forth for weeks or months, making offers and counteroffers. Sometimes, you can reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. Other times, you may need to file suit.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you cannot reach a fair settlement through your offer/counteroffer negotiations, you will need to file a lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney will be mindful of the statute of limitations deadline and will need to file a lawsuit before it expires. 

Just because you file a lawsuit, you do not have to go to trial. If you reach an agreement, you can still settle your case without going to court. 

But it is important to file the suit so your claims do not expire. It is also beneficial to file suit because it gives you access to the pretrial discovery process, where you can learn valuable information for negotiating your claims. 

The Discovery Process

Before filing a lawsuit, you are unable to engage in pretrial discovery. The discovery process is a great way to get evidence that supports your case. 

Once you file suit, you and the other party can use certain tools to get information from each other. You may choose to take the deposition of witnesses. In a deposition, the witness gives sworn testimony that can be used in the negotiation process and at trial.

You can also send interrogatories to the other parties. Interrogatories are written questions that the other party must answer in writing within a certain timeframe. These answers are signed and sworn to be truthful. 

Another discovery tool is a request for the production of documents. With this technique, you can inspect physical evidence and receive copies of important documents.

If the other party does not cooperate, you can file a motion with the court to compel them to comply with your discovery demands. 

The Settlement Agreement

Once you have reached a fair settlement, your personal injury attorney will draft a settlement agreement for all parties to sign. Once the settlement agreement is signed by the parties, it becomes a contract that can be legally enforced. 

Consult with a Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Usually, the sooner you get a skillful personal injury lawyer involved in your case, the sooner you will reach a fair settlement and get the compensation you deserve. Seek the guidance of an experienced Nashville personal injury lawyer today during a free consultation.