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Can A Lawyer Bargain With The Truck’s Insurance Company Better Than I Can?

Almost For Sure.  I only say “almost” because I have to.

First let me talk about buying cars.

In the last six months, I helped both my wife and another  relative buy cars. Each time, when we sat down, I would give the salesman a number, he would go and come back five minutes later with a lower number from his manager, and I would respond with a slightly higher number. The deals each got done after a half hour of negotiating.  My wife was amazed at how smoothly this went.

The point is not that I am an exceptional negotiator.  I am pretty good, but every negotiator has good and bad days, and there are lots of negotiators. The point is that neither my wife nor my other family member was especially good at it, neither of them wanted to do it, and I was comfortable doing it, so I did a better job than they could have.

Why could I do this, and not my wife?  She is smarter than I am, and pretty social.  And trust me, she knows what she wants.

There are a bunch of reasons.

One – I had seen my Dad bargain for cars, knew that I would have to do it some day, and made up my mind that when I did it, I would be good at it.

Two – When I bought my first car at age 20, I walked out of the dealership three times in the middle of negotiations.  Well, at least twice. I argued with the salesman.   My Dad – who was really a pretty reasonable, if dominating, guy – even watched me.  (He said, following one session – “I don’t think he’s going to go any lower.”)

Three –  And I kept doing this for the next four cars I bought.  I argued with the salesman.  I walked out of lots of dealerships. I shopped deals with other dealers who sold the same cars.  I heard one dealer say “He thinks he’s going to get a new Celica for $8,500.00.  I did.

I also did stupid stuff – I bought a 1987 Acura Integra without a radio, failing to realize that it had “fallen off” the list of negotiated extras in the give and take.

(I refused to let them get the better of me, and bought a remanufactured radio-tape deck from a local retailer so that the dealer would not get the better of me. Another brilliant move.  The substitute tape deck ate at least one Rolling Stones and one Cream tape before I exchanged it.)

Finally, after four cars, two things happened.  I got married, and realized that my wife’s patience with my negotiating tactics was not as great as the dealer’s.  Second, I realized that the amount I would gain by walking out of the showroom was minimal next to the good will I could gain just by getting the dealer as low as I could get him, and then shaking hands.

When you try to negotiate a personal injury lawsuit on your own, you are probably like my wife.  You don’t know what it’s worth, the consequence of not doing the deal is unimaginable for you, you don’t want to try the case, and you are uncomfortable asserting your own interest to a stranger.  And you don’t know what you can get away with.

When a lawyer negotiates your lawsuit against the truck driver for you, he’s probably done over a hundred deals if he’s been licensed for 10 years.  He knows he can walk away from just about any deal, and call the adjuster up the next day.

The lawyer doesn’t know what will happen if he tries the case, but he’s willing to take the chance, because he knows things will probably get better before then. He is comfortable coming down a minimal amount,  or asking the other side to come up a couple thousand dollars, or drawing a line in the sand.

And the insurance adjuster knows that the lawyer can force him to spend thousands on his own lawyer, and tie up his attention for the next 18 months, just by filing a lawsuit in the court. When the adjuster deals with you individually , he has no idea whether you are willing to do that.

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I‘ve negotiated lots of personal injury lawsuits. If you’ve been hurt by a truck, give me, a Cincinnati truck accident attorney, a call.  My phone is 513-621-4775.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.  All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated.  And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.


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