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Some plaintiffs hope to benefit from a windfall, at the close of a court trial. Understand that a fair compensation does not come close to equaling a windfall. In order to determine what is fair, an attorney asks this question: How much money could be spent to settle this case?

Calculation of the costs begins with a look at the economic damage.

Those are the expenses related to treating the injury, as shown by the patient’s medical records. Economic damage is easy to calculate. It is much harder to determine the monetary value for the non-economic damage. An injury lawyer in in Garden Grove looks at what juries have awarded in the past for similar damages. Then the same attorney studies the extent of the client’s injuries, at the time that the client got harmed. An attorney’s other questions probe into the costs related to treating the injury.

–How long did the client have to spend receiving the prescribed treatment?
–Did the client receive treatment for any psychological or emotional problems?
–Has the doctor indicated that there could be more medical costs for the injured client in the future?

The lawyer’s argument

That argument gets formed as the client answers the questions about the non-economic damage. Good lawyers realize that they need to develop a strong argument. The opposing attorney will be searching for some weakness in the argument that gets made on the plaintiff’s behalf. Initially, the client’s lawyer presents the argument in a demand letter. The information provided by the client aids the creation of that demand letter. The same letter states a specific amount of money.

That stated amount of money is not what the attorney has determined as the fair compensation. In fact, the amount demanded should be much larger than that fair compensation. The demand letter is meant to initiate negotiations. Hence, it must leave room for the expected lowering of that initial bid.

On the other hand, the demanded amount should not be too far above the amount that appears “fair.” If the plaintiff seeks too large a compensation, the insurance adjuster might hesitate to respond. The insurance company does not have to offer a response, if it feels that it has a strong case.

By the same token, the insurance adjuster does not have to offer a logical and reasonable response. Some adjusters prefer to put forward a low-ball offer. That prolongs the negotiations. Working with the attorney, the plaintiff must request an explanation for the low amount in the reply to the demand letter. Then it becomes the plaintiff’s job to await the requested explanation, before making a counter offer. Ideally, all those actions lead to creation of a fair settlement.

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