If you’re settling your Workers Compensation claim by yourself, then you’ll probably need to negotiate with the insurance company at some point.
But most people don’t have negotiating experience, and when the insurance company sees that you’re not being represented by a lawyer, they’re likely going to try and take advantage of you.
So what are some of the things you need to know in order to successfully negotiate the BIGGEST settlement possible? And what are some negotiation tips that you can only learn from an experienced workers compensation lawyers?
We’re going to find out RIGHT NOW!
My name is Rex Zachofsky and I became a New York workers compensation lawyer 17 years ago after getting injured on the job. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you with your claim with New York Workers Compensation Benefits, please give me a call at 212-406-8989 to schedule a free consultation.
The first thing you need to do in order to effectively negotiate your setttlement is figure out what your case is worth.
If you were going to buy a car from a dealership, you wouldn’t start haggling on the price without first knowing the make, model, and condition of the car.
The same is true for your workers compensation settlement.
Before you provide a demand to the insurance company, you need to first understand what makes your case valuable. Things such as:
Be sure to watch my other videos to learn how to calculate some of these.
Once you’ve determined the value of your case, you could then present a demand to the insurance company. If the insurance company has already made an offer to you, then you'd make a counteroffer.
As I’ve said before, you usually won’t get the total value of your case when settling your claim.
Hopefully you’ll be able to negotiate for more than 50% of the value, but in most cases the insurance company isn’t going to pay you 100% or more.
So figure out a range you’d be satisfied with, and submit a demand on the higher end. This will give you room to negotiate.
When the insurance company responds with their counteroffer, ask them to break down how they calculated the amount based on the value of the elements we just discussed.
If they share it, you might discover that they missed a piece of evidence and be able to use that to negotiate for more money.
If they refuse to share their breakdown, that’s a good sign that their offer is low.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and this is especially true when it comes to gathering evidence for your Workers' Compensation claim.
Preparing evidence is necessary not only to justify the value you're asking for, but also to show the insurance company that you're serious and they won't be able to take advantage of you.
That means preparing information such as:
When preparing your evidence, keep in mind that the insurance company is on the hook for medical costs and lost wages. These two things are what largely determine how much they’ll offer.
So you want to prepare as much evidence as possible proving that you will have significant ongoing medical costs and work restrictions.
That includes things like the cost of vocational training if you need to switch careers, any medical devices or equipment you might need, and therapy to help adjust to your new restrictions.
Whatever you do, do not accept the first offer you receive from the insurance company!
In all my years as a workers comp lawyer, I can’t remember the last time an insurance company make an acceptable first offer.
Remember, it’s their job to save as much money as possible on your case. And they do that by getting you to accept an offer that undervalues what your case is worth.
If you don’t have a workers comp lawyer, they will usually submit their first offer early, sometimes within days of the the accident, in an attempt to get you to accept a low amount before you can get a lawyer or calculate the value of your claim.
They also don’t want you waiting until you reach maximum medical improvement, because then you know the extent of any permanent disability and how much future medical treatment you will require.
Instead they will try to entice you with a quick and easy buck, so don’t fall for it.
Have patience and wait until you know the full value of your claim before negotiating a settlement.
And when you do, assume that the first offer they send you will undervalue your case.
One of the single most powerful things you can do in a negotiation is get leverage over the insurance company!
If there is something the they want, you can offer to give it to them in exchange for more money.
For example, if they’re willing to settle but want to avoid setting a precedent of accepting a certain type of claim, make them pay more.
If they want to avoid having your case become public knowledge and ask that you sign a non-disclosure agreement, make them pay more.
If for some reason they want you to settle your case sooner rather than later, make them pay for it.
Don’t ever agree to anything they’re asking for without also asking for more compensation in return.
You can also get more leverage by reminding them of facts that will likely cost them more money down the road, such as:
Remember, going to court costs you nothing but it costs the insurance company a lot of money.
If you want the insurance company to take you seriously and agree to a bigger settlement, then you need to demonstrate credibility.
That means presenting all of your evidence and documents in an organized fashion, being thorough and including all materials relevant to your case, maintaining a professional tone during negotiations without losing your temper, and submitting realistic offers that show you’re a reasonable person.
Better yet, to really increase the size of your settlement, leverage the credibility and authority of an experienced workers compensation lawyer who you know the insurance company will respect and play ball with.
On average, workers compensation attorneys get injured workers 30% more in compensation than they would otherwise receive on their own.
Why, you might ask?
Because they know how the game works.
They’re familiar with the insurance company and have experience negotiating to get the largest possible settlement for their clients.
And the insurance company knows that they’re not going to get away with a lowball offer once you have a workers comp lawyer on your side.
So if you or a loved one have been injured on the job here in New York and would like to set up a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who will fight to get the settlement you deserve, give me a call at 212-406-8989 today.
Our conversation is confidential, costs you nothing, and will put you on track to negotiate the biggest workers comp settlement you can get!
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