In case of an accident, insurance companies are quick to offer money settlement and pressure you to settle for a lowball offer. While accepting such an offer may seem like a quick and easy solution, there are many factors to take into consideration before making such a decision. You must hire a seasoned attorney who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Choosing the right legal aid for your case can mean all the difference between dealing with an excruciating amount of medical bills and getting paid for your pain and suffering. A good attorney can offer you a way out of the misery. Find out more by visiting NicoletLaw.com, one of the top personal injury lawyers.
In this article, we’ll explore the five things you need to consider before accepting that initial settlement offer.
The amount being offered
The first and most obvious factor to consider is the amount being offered. Is the offer reasonable or significantly less than what you think your case is worth? You need to examine all aspects of your case, including evidence, previous settlements for similar cases, and the specifics of your situation.
If the settlement amount is reasonable and fair, then accepting it may be in your best interest as it saves time and energy from going through long litigation proceedings.
However, if you feel that the offer is unfair or lesser than what you believe would sufficiently compensate for your injuries or loss incurred due to negligence or wrongful action by someone else, then rejecting it would be the right move. Sometimes negotiating with legal counsel could get you better deals for your claims.
It is crucial at any stage of negotiation that liability in a personal injury claim has been established against possible defendants voluntarily or through litigation means. Suppose liability cannot be established against all potential defendants named in the lawsuit nor agreed upon privately with defense attorneys. In that case, going after a higher compensation becomes irrelevant since proving fault legally would become difficult.
If liability isn’t straightforward yet during negotiations, carefully assess how much this uncertainty would affect further legal proceedings and seek advice from experts experienced in litigating similar types of claims.
Many victims who’ve sustained injuries (physical pain & emotional distress) require financial relief quickly as their conditions can impact income-generating capacities, further hurting their finances.
In these cases, accepting a settlement offer may be the right move, as it grants immediate financial assistance instead of waiting for the case to go to trial.
However, your interests should not be undermined when faster compensation puts you in a disadvantaged position financially, i.e., agreeing to an amount lesser than compensational prospects of continuing litigation could result in future unanticipated expenses. If you accept early without taking into account all the long-term consequences, your attorney can point out that the resulting sum could end up satisfying only short-term goals rather than long-term objectives.
Future medical bills
Medical and rehabilitation costs are expensive and often more significant than anticipated by victims who’ve not yet completed any necessary treatment plans following injuries sustained through malpractice or other types of personal injury lawsuits.
Accepting smaller offers with no propensity towards further negotiation usually force plaintiffs to waive their rights toward further claims against the defendant(s) involved. The most preferred approach would be to include foreseeable & potential medical and rehab bills in estimated amounts you’re willing to settle during negotiations.
Not accounting for this expense might lead you to be cash-strapped if long-standing healthcare issues arise post-settlement. This kind of vulnerability can turn an innocent settlement agreement into a disadvantageous one that bars re-coursing another claim even when warranted (or needed).
Consult with legal counsel
Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer is vital before making any significant decisions regarding the acceptance or rejection of settlement offers. They have specific negotiation techniques that can help you determine whether initial offers are reasonable or inadequate based on knowledge previously acquired from litigating claims similar to yours.
Working together with your legal counsel helps avoid common and costly mistakes otherwise made while negotiating without expert guidance. Hence working together ensures you receive full compensation.
Accepting initial settlement offers is not always a wise move. Sometimes, they are not sufficient or appropriate enough for your needs. It is a lawyer’s duty to provide professional guidance based on the weight and credibility of evidence gathered to date, previous settlement rates in similar claims, and enlightened risk assessment practices.
Taking note of these five things outlined above can hopefully steer victims towards more favorable outcomes and prevent them from being disadvantaged in the long term.