What is the normal process for negotiating a settlement or filing suit?

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What is the normal process for negotiating a settlement or filing suit?

Do you file suit immediately after an insurance company’s first offer or only after they refuse to go higher and it is still a low figure? (several rounds of offers)

Asked on October 27, 2011 under Accident Law, Maryland

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can file the lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver/registered owner at anytime if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers.  If there has only been one settlemet offer in response to your demand letter, it would be advisable to respond with a counteroffer and continue negotiations.  Since you said there have been several rounds of offers, you should proceed with filing the lawsuit if the offers are inadequate.  It is unrealistic to expect that you will receive the amount you are claiming in the demand letter. That figure is just a starting point in negotiations.  Another factor to consider is that if the statute of limitations is approaching and although settlement negotiations are ongoing, you will need to file the lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  Again, if the case is NOT settled, you must file the lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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