How West Palm Beach Injury Lawyers Identify Solid Settlement Offers

In West Palm Beach personal injury cases, there is strong incentive for both sides to settle things out-of-court. Trials are expensive, time-consuming, and often emotionally-wrought. Florida statute also provides strong incentive: If either side rejects a reasonable settlement offer and the end result at trial is a judgment ends up being fairly close to that amount, the party who rejected the offer can be compelled to pay the other side’s attorney fees.personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach

As the plaintiff, even if you win, an order to pay the defense’s attorney fees can significantly cut into the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. So the question becomes: How do I know if a settlement offer is reasonable?

The best way to have high confidence is to hire an experienced West Palm Beach injury lawyer with a track record of success in cases similar to yours. They are going to instinctively have a strong sense of what your case is worth — and how to properly verify the figure they’re thinking of.

As skilled Palm Beach injury lawyers, we have a number of specific methods we employ to help us pinpoint that number.

Consider Economic Factors

You’ve heard the saying, “time is money.” That is one of the most compelling arguments for avoiding trial in a personal injury case. Sometimes they’re necessary – but they’ll almost always cost more.

The longer a case drags on:

  • The more work there is for attorneys, which translates to higher attorney fees for both sides.
  • The less the same amount of money is worth, thanks to inflation.
  • The more time the plaintiff will lose at work or spend traveling for court dates, depositions, etc.

Settling sooner rather than later is usually in your best interests – but only if the settlement offer is fair. It’s not uncommon for insurers to lowball plaintiffs. It’s important to have an experienced attorney who can help you decipher whether an offer is fair or not.

Retaining a Valuation Expert

A good injury lawyer is going to have a strong sense of what your case is worth early on based on educated guesswork. But the longer a case goes on, the more precise we need to be about that figure if there’s any chance it’s going to go before a judge or jury. For this, we typically turn to a valuation expert.

Well-supported valuation reports help by:

  • Demonstrating your good faith in the negotiation process.
  • Signaling to the insurance adjuster that you are serious about your claim – and won’t be afraid to take this matter to a jury, if need be.
  • Showing that you indeed have a legitimate claim for the amount you’re seeking.

What the valuation expert is going to tell us is the “break even point.” This is the exact amount needed for you to break even financially. It’s more focused on tangible losses (lost wages, medical bills, property damage, etc.) than non-tangible losses (loss of life enjoyment, physical pain and mental suffering, etc.).

Knowing exactly what the financial break-even point is provides us with a strong position from which to negotiate.

Negotiating With an Insurance Company

When we bring that valuation report to the insurance company, it’s also with the caveat that if that case goes to a jury, there’s a good chance the jury could issue a damage award that is a lot higher. Depending on the skill of the lawyer, the reliability of the client as a witness, the sympathy the circumstances garner, the strength of the evidence, juries can end up awarding far more than the actual value of economic losses. Plus, if an insurer refuses to settle, they have to contend with all the additional costs of a trial: Attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, other related court costs, etc.

We also will have to consider whether fault and/or causation is in doubt. If it is, that could weaken the strength of the case and lead us to bargain for a slightly lower sum.

But if you have a good injury lawyer, they’re going to be looking at all the possible ways to maximize your settlement offer. For example, insurance companies might provide statistics that show the average payout for cases similar to yours. But as highly experienced injury lawyers, we know that such figures don’t factor in:

  • Variation in attorney skill. Not every attorney is going to work as hard – or be as good – at obtaining their clients fair compensation. We have the experience and skill to know when we’re likely to be successful in getting our clients an amount that is much higher than the average.
  • The specifics of your case. If we’re looking at averages paid out for a soft tissue injury or broken bone, that doesn’t necessarily tell us what your case is worth because it’s possible those cases weren’t as strong as yours.

Even when such composite numbers are good estimates, they can be misleading if an injury lawyer doesn’t dive a bit deeper.

Bottom line: Working with an experienced injury lawyer gives you the best possible chance of a full and fair recovery of financial losses caused by another’s negligence.

Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.

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What’s the Point of a Personal Injury Lawyer Free Consultation? Oct. 30, 2023, Palm Beach Injury Lawyer Blog

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