Being injured can be a scary, emotional, unpredictable time of life. You may have suddenly lost your source of income, while your bills start piling up. On top of feeling the pain of the injury, you’re feeling the emotions that come with uncertainty about your future and the financial demands that come along with your injury. Because of this, many people want to negotiate a quick settlement to ease the financial burden. That’s certainly understandable. But before you do so, take a step back and read these tips to help you make these decisions about your future.
1. Our first tip might be the most important. Hire an attorney. Many attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay anything up front and will only have to pay attorneys’ fees if the attorney recovers monetary damages for you. An experienced attorney will have a thorough understanding of the process, the timeline, and your legal rights and options, and they’ll be able to walk you through every step of this difficult, emotional time.
2. Don’t accept the first offer. People often want to just accept the insurance company’s first offer. When you have an opportunity to collect some money in the near future, and you know that that money would help (at least a little) with your current situation, it can be hard to turn down it down. But the first offer will almost always be significantly lower than what you deserve and what you need.
3. Think about the future. When you are making a settlement demand or evaluating a settlement offer, don’t just consider what you have paid out in medical bills thus far. Think about future expenses related to your injury, and include that in your demand. If you don’t think about the future and you accept a settlement offer without that in mind, you may find yourself with limited or even no options for recovering those future damages. This is because, once you accept an offer, that’s usually the end of your claim as the insurance company will have you sign a “Release” so that, typically, you can’t go back later and claim additional related damages.
4. Consider the intangibles. It’s relatively easy to document medical bills and lost wages, but you’re entitled to more than that. You are also entitled to things such as the pain and suffering that has resulted from your injury. We know it’s hard to put a number on that, and that’s another area where an experienced attorney can be helpful. As an example, you will want to think about things such as how your life has changed, how your family has changed, and how your ability to care for your children and to complete other day-to-day activities has changed.
If you’ve been injured, or know someone who has been injured, we hope these tips have helped you. Call us today to schedule your consultation. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis – you won’t have to pay attorneys’ fees unless and until we recover money for you.