A lump sum settlement is a cash payment offered to a person, usually to pay for medical expenses or other damages including lost wages or permanent disability because of injury. This is the way in which insurance companies pay accident claims to an injured party, particularly individuals who have been injured at work or as the result of a motor vehicle accident. The offer of a lump sum settlement is a method of compromise that allows individuals to settle out of court, thus avoiding the process of litigation. However, settlement proposals involve a number of different steps before an award is made.
Hire an attorney to represent you. A litigation attorney is trained to negotiate and handle settlements, as lawsuits can sometimes take a long time. It is your attorney’s responsibility to protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement.
Communicate with the insurance company in writing and not by phone. This allows you to keep a detailed, written record as you attempt to resolve your claim. Write a letter describing the details of what happened. Explain how the other party was at fault for your injuries and loss.
Make copies of all bills or other documentation supporting your claim. Forward any correspondence by certified mail.
Submit a proposal after you evaluate the amount of your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Begin by asking for more money than you expect to get, as insurance companies will generally make a counteroffer. Prepare to wait at least 30 days before you receive a response.
Counter for more money than the insurance company has offered, but for less than your initial proposal. It may not be in your best interest to settle for the first offer an insurance company makes, but with some negotiating you are more likely to arrive at a figure acceptable to everyone.
Consult with your attorney before deciding whether or not to accept an offer that has been presented. He can advise you of the possible consequences or other alternatives related to not accepting the offer. Know your options beforehand if you decide not to settle.
Confirm the offer in writing before accepting it . Carefully consider all the implications before the negotiations come to an end. Keep in mind that once a lump sum settlement has been paid, your right to collect any future benefits is terminated.
Have your attorney draw up a legally binding agreement for both you and the other party to sign. Retain a copy of the agreement for your records.