If you’ve ever been involved in settlement negotiations, then you’ll quickly realize that it’s nothing like the movies. There aren’t two people passing a paper slip back and forth, writing random numbers down. There aren’t angry outbursts with fists banging down on the table and causing coffee cups to rattle or outright tip over.
Instead, settlement negotiations are pretty calm, and they usually take their worst turns when you’re not calm. All of the common statements below are said out of anger or frustration, and they can drastically reduce the volume of compensation you receive. Even if it seems like the statement has nothing to do with the ultimate dollar amount, you’ll quickly learn that insurance employees are just as touchy and sensitive about this matter as an irritated victim. If you get injured in an accident, sometimes it’s easier to hire a local attorney who handles car accident cases to help deal with the insurance company.
“I’m fine, thanks.”
It’s completely natural to walk into a room, ask how someone is, and expect a response like, “I’m fine, thanks.” It’s also completely natural to give this type of response. However, it can start off negotiations a bit sour because if you were “fine,” then no one would be in that room discussing your injuries. Of course, you don’t want to give a tart response such as “Terrible, my shoulder hurts.”
So what can you say during the small talk in pre-negotiations? You can say something like, “I’m ready to start discussing the settlement options.” Or, “I’m ready to handle what we need to accomplish today.”
“(Insert Blank) Wasn’t Doing Their Job.”
Usually, we’re referring to the claims adjuster here, and they may not have been doing their job. However, when you start accusing the car insurance company of defending ineffective or outright harmful employees, they jump to the defense. Negotiations aren’t the time or place to start discussing job duties, just leave those past hurts out of the room.
“You Violated My Medical Privacy”
During your demand and as part of your claim, you have the right to restrict medical records access. You can limit the insurance company to only accessing information after a certain date, or after the crash. If you didn’t do that, then this isn’t a violation of medical privacy.
“We’re Going to Court.”
People experience at least one emotion, about 90% of the time. Typically, that one emotion is positive or content, but when we’re feeling one or more negative emotions, our mouths tend to run away with us. That’s when we say things in anger or frustration, and we mean them, except maybe we didn’t mean them the way they were said.
When you tell someone that you’re going to court, they’re ready to call your bluff. Court fees are expensive, and while you’re paying your attorney on contingency, they’ve already paid for hours and hours of their attorney’s work. They see it as you probably have more to lose going to court than they do. That may not always be true, but it’s often a game of chicken that car insurance companies are willing to play.
“That Driver is 100% Liable.”
The emotional dimension is pretty important as a primary element in negotiation. Yes, you feel that the driver is entirely liable or at-fault. However, you need to rely on evidence and logic to prove that. When you make statements such as, “That driver was at-fault” or similar, it appears as though you and your legal team don’t have evidence to support that statement.
Instead, you might swap to a question or restructure your statement such as:
- “This driver caused the accident by following me too closely and failing to stop safely.”
- “How is it that I’m at fault if I was hit from behind while obeying traffic laws?”
- “I don’t understand how I’m at fault to any degree if your driver was the one who hit me.”
Statements in Settlement Negotiations Can Hurt Your Chances – Hire an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
The best possible approach to handling negotiations is to bring in a professional negotiator. Car accident law firms, especially those within Atlanta that frequently work against big insurance companies, are pros at negotiating. They look for ways to ask questions that will prompt a desirable response. They aim to get a positive outcome through building bridges and reaching a reasonable and favorable compromise.
Contacting The Weinstein Firm right in the heart of Atlanta can help you take control over your negotiations without upsetting outbursts or struggling for a slight increase in compensation payment. Instead, our expert negotiators will create a strong case and argue through reasonable questioning and interaction. If necessary, we’ll take your case forward to court.