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How Are Personal Injury Settlements Negotiated?

It would be really nice if personal injury claims were simple enough that the responsible parties just stepped up to the plate, took responsibility for what happened, and paid out. Unfortunately, it rarely happens that way and it falls upon attorneys to argue and fight for the rights of the injured person, to ensure they can pay for their medical bills and keep control of their lives.

The negotiation process can be long and complicated. Learn how settlements for injuries are negotiated, and how San Jose personal injury attorneys help victims in these cases get justice.


Not every personal injury case ends up before a judge in court. In fact, the vast majority of cases are settled out of court through a back-and-forth negotiation between the involved parties. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf, while the defendant will have either an attorney, an insurance company or another representative (or some combination of the three) who will negotiate on their behalf.


The process of negotiation is deceptively simple. The most basic negotiations where the case is very cut-and-dried usually take place in a couple of phone calls, while more complex cases can take a long time to resolve. In general, the steps to negotiate work as follows:

1. An initial demand letter is issued, which asks for a high settlement

2. The adjuster points out flaws in the claim and arguments against you

3. You respond to the points made by the insurance company

4. The defendant’s representatives come back with a lowball counteroffer

5. A back-and-forth takes place until the parties hopefully reach an acceptable middle-ground.

The process is not unlike haggling over the price of a house or car.


It’s typical during negotiation for the insurance adjuster to challenge your claim and use a variety of non-payment tactics. The most basic of these is to claim you won’t get a better offer, or a “take it or leave it” demand to get you to give up and sign. Others involve challenging whether their client is liable, whether the policy covers your injury, whether your injuries are as severe as you claim, or whether your medical treatment is as serious as you claim.


When negotiating an injury claim, you’re up against pros who know exactly how to challenge your claim and get out of paying. That’s why San Jose personal injury attorneys are so essential to getting you the settlement you deserve. It’s vital to have someone in your corner who is experienced and qualified to handle these tactics and protect your rights.

A qualified attorney is organized, prompt, patient and persistent, and they know how to prove your injuries are serious enough to warrant the settlement you’re seeking. If you’re seeking to collect damages from an injury in California and someone else is at fault, Dunnion Law can help.