Any case we decide to get involved in has some settlement value. We only get paid if we make a recovery for you (our fee is 20% of that recovery) so of course we take on cases that will have value at the end and fight our butts off for your until that point.
Sometimes it’s decided that a trial is needed and that can be the right route. But if you can settle for a fair amount it usually makes sense to do so.
There is no one “right way” for an attorney to try and settle your case. Some lawyers act reasonable and ask for just a little more than they think the case is worth, hoping to strike a quick agreement. Others ask for drastically more than the case is worth so it will look like they are being reasonable when they go to a way lower figure. Occasionally attorneys and their injured clients get overpaid based off these inflated demands, but it’s not common.
When you want to settle a case, you can pick up the phone and call the insurance adjuster or defense attorney or you can send over a letter. I personally believe that in most cases it makes sense to send a letter and then follow up a week later by phone. Especially with an insurance adjuster they often are swamped with cases so having a letter to look at and then a call gives them a chance to get one case off of their desk and make their work life a little easier. Remember, most insurance adjusters get a bonus for closing files, not for spending less money.
As a client, you should get a copy of the settlement demand letter and be notified of any follow up events such as a phone call.
With the letter itself, some attorneys will simply say, “We’d like to settle the Jones case for $75,000.00” and not detail how they got to that point. I personally don’t think that is effective.
A better settlement demand letter will say that you are ready to settle, outline how the client got hurt, provide a detailed history of their medical care (e.g. following three months of physical therapy at the ABC Center, my client still had pain and could not work. At that point she elected to have a multi level lumbar fusion at L3-4, L4-5 by Dr. Smith), discuss the time they missed from work and how this is affecting their life now. I would then state the dollar amount that I want and occasionally mention similar cases which went for a similar amount.
Believe it or not, often our opponents won’t be actively following your care and recovery. By telling your story in the demand letter it shows your case in the best possible light.
Following the follow up phone call, things will often move quickly and if they don’t the proper strategy is usually to motion your case for trial. That essentially puts the insurance company on the clock and forces them to respond. If they don’t then the case goes to trial. In most cases this just leads to negotiation and an actual settlement.
Like most of Illinois workers’ compensation, getting the best result is more hard work than rocket science, but it does require experience and the ability to read what the best approach will be. The attorneys in our state wide network deal with the same insurance adjusters over and over so we get to know the best approaches with them.
If you’d like to discuss your case for free with one of our lawyers, call us at (312) 346-5578 any time or fill out the contact form to the right of this page. We will do whatever we can to help you.