The injuries you suffered in your maritime accident can be painful and expensive to treat. To recover, you need time off and compensation to pay your bills. You might be able to cover these losses by filing a Jones Act claim, but you’re not automatically going to be given the money you need and deserve. Instead, you’ll have to aggressively advocate for it. While this means gathering the evidence you need to support your claim, it also means knowing when to settle and when to deny an offer to fight for more at trial.
When is a settlement offer right for you?
It depends on the circumstances. However, far too many accident victims accept the first settlement offer that’s made to them, which can cut them well short of what they deserve. Although you might be tempted to quickly resolve your case so that you have immediate access to financial resources, doing so could put your recovery in jeopardy.
With that in mind, here are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your settlement negotiations:
- Get an offer in writing: You and your attorney are going to have a lot of conversations with your employer and its insurance company. When the other side makes an offer, you need to get it in writing so that you can carefully analyze it before making a decision. Also, refrain from making the first offer, as you don’t want to give a number that’s lower than what the insurance company would’ve initially offered you.
- Know the value of your case: You shouldn’t settle your case without knowing what it’s worth. Therefore, before entering settlement negotiations, analyze your damages so that you can assign a dollar value to them. Only then will you know where a settlement offer stacks up compared to your needs.
- Point out what’s at stake for the other side if they choose to go to trial: To leverage your position at the negotiation table, you’ll want to show the other side that they don’t have a strong and favorable alternative to settlement on your terms. You can do this by showing them the evidence you intend to present at trial. If you do so in a persuasive fashion, then you might see the movement you want in your settlement talks.
- Have experts lined up: There might be several contentious issues in your case. In many of them, you might be able to secure expert testimony to support your position and your arguments. These experts might speak to the extent and necessary treatment of your injuries, or they might be able to provide valuable insight into how the accident occurred. Either way, having an expert or two lined up and ready to go can give you an edge in your settlement negotiations.
- Test the other side’s truthfulness: Your employer and their insurance company are going to make a lot of statements in support of their position. How do you know they’re true? You might not entirely know for sure without corroborating evidence, but you can test the waters regarding their honesty by requesting key documentation to see how forthcoming they are. That way, you’ll better gauge how much you can trust them during the settlement negotiation process.
Be prepared going into your maritime law case
We know that you want to recover compensation, resolve your case, and get back to your life as quickly as possible. But there’s a right way to do that. You don’t want to skimp on preparing your case and readying yourself for settlement negotiations, as doing so could put you at risk of a settlement that’s worth far less than you deserve.
Therefore, be diligent as you work to build the case that puts you on the path to success. There are several considerations to take into account here, so be sure to educate yourself and find answers to any questions that you might have.