Getting fair compensation after a car accident can be like pulling teeth in some cases. Defendants and their insurance companies often open with insultingly low settlement offers, but a lawyer can help you get what you rightly deserve.
If the defendant or their insurance company has made a very low settlement offer after a car accident, do not accept it. Instead, you should return with a much higher counteroffer that covers your damages and expenses. You should contact an attorney to help you with settlement negotiations. Without an experienced lawyer, you might be taken advantage of without realizing it. Before entering settlement negotiations, your attorney should review your case to figure out what it is worth. By doing so, you know how much compensation is fair for your situation, and you can better advocate for yourself. Not all negotiations end with a settlement agreement; you might have to have a full trial to get the compensation you deserve.
Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free case evaluation with our Chicago car accident lawyers.
What to Do After a Low Settlement Offer in a Chicago Car Accident Case
First, if you are facing settlement negotiations alone, don’t. Call a lawyer to help you get the best settlement possible. Our Rockford, IL car accident lawyers will leverage the evidence we have for your case to get the defendant to pay for your damages.
Do not be discouraged by a low settlement offer. If the low offer is happening at the very beginning of negotiations, you should consider it a jumping-off point, not a realistic offer you could accept. Remember, you do not have to accept any offer you do not want to, and we can help you return with a counteroffer that aligns more with what you need and deserve.
After the low settlement offer, your counteroffer should be for a much higher settlement. A good rule of thumb for settlement negotiations is to make an offer that is well above what you expect to receive. The defendant will only try to decrease the settlement amount you are asking for, so the only way to go is down. As such, coming in with a high counteroffer helps to make sure your final settlement agreement is for an acceptable amount.
If your settlement is surprisingly low, you might want to reevaluate your evidence. If the defense thinks you have a weak case, they will not bother offering a good settlement. If we can find stronger evidence supporting your claims, we can better argue for greater compensation.
Making a Counteroffer After a Low Initial Settlement Offer for a Chicago Car Accident
After being offered a low settlement from the defendant or their insurance company, you should talk to your lawyer and come back with a much higher counteroffer. As mentioned before, it is best to make a counteroffer that is as high as reasonably possible. It is important to go high because the defendant will likely come back with their own counteroffer below yours.
Remember, settlements are reached by negotiations, and sometimes multiple offers and counteroffers are placed on the table before a decision is reached. This might mean that you may need to reject several offers from the defendant while making numerous counteroffers of your own. In some cases, settlement negotiations are completed relatively quickly. In others, reaching a settlement can take weeks or even months.
Knowing What Your Car Accident Case is Worth Before Reaching a Settlement in Chicago
If you do not know how much your case is worth and what fair compensation should include, you might not know when the defendant or their insurance company is lowballing you. Before engaging in settlement negotiations, you should speak to your attorney about your damages and how much they are worth.
You must consider all your compensatory damages, which typically include economic and non-economic losses. Some of the more common economic losses in many car accident cases include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and lost income because you could not return to work. In addition, if you have to travel for medical treatment, you can claim travel costs as part of your damages. Speak to your attorney about all the money you spent after the accident to get a more accurate idea of your economic damages.
You should also discuss the possibility of claiming non-economic damages. These are often based on the experiences you went through after an accident and tend to be very subjective. Your emotional and physical pain and suffering, humiliation, and overall loss of enjoyment of life may be claimed. The value of these damages is unique to you. They are open to interpretation and may be challenged in settlement negotiations.
You should also consider the possibility of punitive damages. Punitive damages, although rarely awarded, may be warranted where the defendant’s behavior was intentional or extremely negligent. While there is no hard cap on punitive damages in Illinois, they are limited to three times the amount of economic damages, according to 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1115.05. If your economic losses are significant, punitive damages might be even greater, and the defendant might be more willing to settle.
What Do I Do if I Cannot Get a Good Settlement Offer for a Chicago Car Accident Case?
Even if both parties want to settle, agreements are not always reached. Perhaps the defendant is unwilling to pay you fair compensation no matter what. In that case, you might have to sue the defendant to get the compensation you rightly deserve.
Lawsuits tend to take a lot longer than settlements. On top of that, there is a risk that you will not win and be awarded no damages. The more evidence you have supporting your claims, the better your odds in a trial.
Call Our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers About Your Upcoming Settlement Negotiations
Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 to schedule a free case evaluation with our Chicago personal injury lawyers.