What are the typical steps in that particular process?
How might some aspect of the negotiation process surprise a claimant?
The steps that precede the negotiations
Composition of the demand letter: That should offer details on the accident and the claimant’s injuries. It should explain why the other party has been named as the liable party. It should close with presentation of a demand—the amount of money requested by the plaintiff/claimant.
The demand letter gets sent to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster responds by presenting arguments against the letter’s claims. Those arguments might indicate a need for more information. The plaintiff sends more information. The plaintiff might reduce the size of the demand.The adjuster then comes forward with an initial offer. That action starts the negotiation process.
Basic steps during negotiations
Plaintiff can accept or reject the initial offer. Lawyers also urge their client to reject that first offer. The client/plaintiff should then send a counteroffer, a slightly lower demand.
The 2 sides keep exchanging offers, and making changes in the preceding offer. Eventually, the 2 sides should agree on a figure for the settlement. The plaintiff should seek confirmation of the fact that the other party (the insurance company) has agreed to pay the amount that the 2 sides had reached, when negotiations had ceased.
If the insurance company has agreed to that discussed figure, then it should send a release form to the plaintiff’s lawyer. The lawyer should arrange for the client/plaintiff to sign that same form. Not until the insurance company has received the signed release form would it be ready to send the promised amount of money to the waiting claimant/plaintiff.
A possible surprise for the claimant
Before the start of negotiations, the Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill knows that the claimant might receive a reservation of rights letter. That would come from the defendant’s insurance company. That letter would confirm the fact that the insurer has initiated an investigation of the submitted claim. Still, the insurance company has not admitted the need to pay any amount of compensation.
During their investigations of any claim, insurance companies check to see if the defendant’s insurance policy covered the sort of incident that has been reported. If that policy did not cover such an incident, then the insurance company would refuse to pay the claimant. The reservation of rights letter is meant to serve as a reminder of that fact. The letter’s recipient should understand that the insurance company has, at that point, not yet agreed to deliver any compensation.
The claimants that receive such a letter have no reason to demand compensation. Yet, at that moment, the same claimants do have a right to expect the insurance company’s participation in the negotiation process.