En EspaƱol

How Should I Prepare For My Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury victims often make the mistake of believing that an insurance adjuster is on their side. This is not the case. Insurance adjusters are well trained to withhold as much money as possible. This leaves the accident victim and the adjuster with conflicting interests. As an accident victim, you want to receive the highest settlement possible. If you decide to settle your own case without an attorney, you will need skill in two critical areas: preparation and negotiation.

Before you can negotiate your claim you need to prepare yourself. You wouldn't take a trip to Europe without planning out all the details. This is true with a California personal injury claim. To prepare for your negotiations ask and answer these five basic questions:

  1. What is the strength (evidence) of your claim?
  2. What are similar claims generally resolved for?
  3. What is your settlement goal?
  4. What is your settlement bottom line?
  5. What alternatives do you have if you don't settle?

The strength of your claim lies in the evidence. This includes statements of witnesses, police reports, photos, and documentation of your losses. Losses include medical bills and any other expenses that stem from your accident.

After you have evidence your next step is to prepare a cover letter. This letter is also referred to as a demand letter. Your cover letter will list damages and summarize the evidence. When preparing this letter be sure to ask for more than you would like to receive. This will give you room to negotiate the price down later.

Research what similar claims have been resolved for. Find your local law library and make copies of the cases you find. Reference the cases when negotiating your claim. It may also be a good idea to consult with a California car accident attorney to get their opinion as well.

Define a settlement goal. What is the amount you would like to walk away with (within reason)? After you have determined this you can focus your strategy around your settlement goal. Be prepared to justify your claim with evidence you have prepared.

What is your settlement bottom line? In other words, what is the lowest dollar amount you will settle for? If this amount is denied you will need to seek alternative methods.

If you do not settle what alternatives do you have?

  • You could go to small claims court. This will usually take at least two trips to the courthouse plus a filing and service-of-process fee. The trial will take place six to eight weeks after you have filed. The judge could reward you more money, less money, or nothing at all from the trial. If the wrongdoer appeals the verdict you may have to do this process over again.
  • You could wait and do nothing at all. In California you have two years to settle a claim or file a lawsuit. If you slow down the process an adjuster may be tempted to accept your bottom line number. Adjusters usually do not like their personal injury claims to pile up. They are judged on how much money they save the company as well as the speed in which they do so.
  • Retain the services of a skilled California personal injury attorney. If you are not getting the results you want you can search for an experienced personal injury lawyer. Make sure the attorney you choose knows his way around the court room and has the respect of the judge. Ask him or her what their success rate is.

If you would like to know what else could you can do to best prepare for your claim, feel free to visit our "Do It Yourself Claim" page.


Share this:

See All Ratings And Awards

The BISNAR | CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

    Brian Chase

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “Everybody either drives in a car or rides in a car, so when I do the auto defect cases I really feel like I’m making the world safer by making vehicles safer.”

    Brian Chase

    on why he focuses on auto defect cases

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “Corporate greed is a reality in our world and I see it time and time again. Especially, with the auto defect cases we focus on.”

    Brian Chase

    on corporate greed and how it affects the consumer

  • “You are dealing with people who are seriously injured or have lost a family member...Compassion is understanding someone else’s situation.”

    John Bisnar

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “There are many, many defects in vehicles that can lead to life or death that could be fixed with a mere $40-$50 [on the assembly line].”

    Brian Chase

    on the shocking facts about the vehicles we drive

  • “...if [manufacturers] build a dangerous product and someone is seriously injured from that, some personal inury lawyer is going to call them on the carpet about it.”

    John Bisnar

    on how Bisnar | Chase has helped make the world a better place

  • “I’m convinced, because of all the lawsuits...the auto industry finally found out it was cheaper to fix the problem than to keep paying in the litigation.”

    Brian Chase

    on making the world a safer place

  • “I bring in the best employees that I can and I want them to have a workplace that is condusive to them doing their best work.”

    John Bisnar

    on the work environment created at Bisnar | Chase

  • “When you have a client come in that’s in a wheelchair...or you meet a wife who has lost their husband or they’ve lost their child, it’s diffucult not to get emotionally involved.”

    Brian Chase

    on the biggest challenges he faces as a personal injury lawyer

  • “...it is part of our civic responsibility and it is our great fortune to be in a position to be able to help support our community...”

    John Bisnar

    on the importance of giving back to the community

  • “My motivation of going to law school to have my life’s work help other people...when I see that come to fruition, I’m very pleased and very happy with that.”

    Brian Chase

    on the accomplishments he is most proud of

  • “Seeing the growth of my employees, seeing them mature professionally, personally, and grow into the great professionals they have become is tremendous.”

    John Bisnar

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “I was always jealous of doctors. They get to save lives and they get to heal. I don’t get to do that but I get to have a very big impact on another person’s life...”

    Brian Chase

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “There’s going to people that you meet, that you can mentor...You can make a difference in their lives, you can make a difference in their client’s lives.”

    John Bisnar

    on mentoring young attorneys

  • “I’m the president-elect this year and I’ll be the president next year of the Consumer Advocate Attorneys of California and I find that to be a rewarding thing...”

    Brian Chase

    on being an advocate for the people of California

  • “The Lakers have always been a winning organization, a class organization. I’ve used the Lakers as kind of a model for how to run my practice as well.”

    John Bisnar

    on his passions in life

  • “We try to figure out how we can help [our clients] get through what they’re going through emotionally. Because just getting them compensated is only part of the job.”

    Brian Chase

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

Bisnar | Chase • 1301 Dove St #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660
local: (949) 203-3814
Get Directions

California Personal Injury Blog

Feds Ask Takata & Automakers To Initiate Recall Over Airbags

Federal auto safety regulators are calling on Japanese automotive supplier, Takata, as well as several automakers to initiate a nationwide recall of certain driver's side airbags rather than the

read article

Boston Scientific To Pay $26.7 Million In Vaginal Mesh Case

Boston Scientific Group has to pay $26.7 million to a group of four women who alleged that the company's transvaginal mesh implants had seriously injured them.

read article

Honda Issues Recall After Another Death Linked To Takata Airbag

Honda issued another recall as a fifth death has now been linked to Takata airbags as the result of an exploding airbag that killed a woman during a car accident.

read article

Connect

Copyright & Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.

Bisnar | Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in other states through our associations with local law firms. Through the local firm, we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice, meaning "for this particular occasion." When in our client's interest, we employ the local law firm (at no additional cost to our client) to assist us with routine court appearances and discovery proceedings to more efficiently pursue our client's cause.

Copyright © 1999- Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP - All rights reserved. Location: 1301 Dove St. #120, Newport Beach, CA 92660 Tel: 949-203-3814

SLS Consulting