Only about 5% of personal injury cases go to court – the rest are settled. Have you received a settlement offer for your personal injury case?
Not all settlement offers are fair. It can be difficult for the average person to discern whether or not a settlement offer is reasonable or if they should make a counteroffer. How can you tell?
We’re here to talk about it. Read on to learn all about how to decide whether or not a settlement offer is appropriate and how to handle it if the offer is too low.
Are All Settlement Offers Fair?
Many people trust that any settlement offer is going to be fair. As a result, they accept the settlement offer without question. This is a huge mistake, and it’s one that insurance companies rely on when it comes to car accident cases.
Settlements generally happen when the defendant is clearly in the wrong and could potentially be on the hook for more damages. The settlement is generally lower than what the plaintiff can receive if they were to continue with the case and go to trial.
Legal professionals and insurance companies know that many plaintiffs aren’t interested in going through the stressful negotiation or trial process, so they’re likely to accept a settlement that seems “good enough.”
“Good enough” might be fine for some people, but depending on the extent of your injuries and other accident-related costs, it may not be sufficient. You shouldn’t feel pressured to accept an offer that doesn’t seem fair.
So how do you determine whether or not it’s fair?
What Was the Extent of Your Injuries?
First, consider your injuries. You need to document the time and money that you spent on doctor’s visits, hospital treatment, and even time lost from work as a result of your injury (if applicable).
If your accident resulted in mental distress and you chose to seek therapy or another form of psychiatric treatment, that also counts.
Make Sure You Seek Treatment
When you experience a personal injury accident, make sure you seek professional treatment. You’re going to need documentation of all of your injuries as well as the cost of your care.
While seeking treatment, if you’re not completely healed, try to gauge future medical costs. Remember, if you’re seeking damages before you’re done with treatment, you may end up not getting everything that you deserve or need.
Is There Property Damage to Handle?
Aside from medical costs, consider any relevant property costs. Was there damage to your vehicle? What about your home or any of your other belongings?
Many people forget about property damage costs when they’re burdened by medical costs, but the settlement should take them into consideration.
Does the Settlement Include Economic and Non-Economic Damages?
Most settlements will, by default, cover at least some of your economic damages. But what about your non-economic damages?
Non-economic damages are pain and suffering. Not everyone is able to receive compensation for this, but it never hurts to try. If the settlement does include payment for pain and suffering, it’s more likely to be fair.
Talk to Your Personal Injury Lawyer
Unless you’re very well-versed in the law, it’s likely that you won’t be able to determine whether or not your settlement offer is fair on your own. It’s best to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to help.
A good attorney knows all about the tactics that other attorneys use to offer unfair settlements. They can look at the settlement objectively to determine if it’s going to cover everything you need.
Your lawyer may decide that the settlement is unfair and that they’ll be able to negotiate something better. They may also decide that you need to go to court if you want to receive proper compensation.
On the other hand, the attorney may also decide that the settlement may be low, but that it’s also likely as good as it can be. They may decide that going to trial would not be worthwhile given the other details of your case.
If you’re lucky, they may determine that the settlement is perfect as-is. Regardless, it’s best to let them look it over before deciding whether or not to accept the settlement.
How to Respond to a Low Settlement Offer
So what happens if the settlement offer is too low?
First, remain calm. This happens all the time and it’s nothing to worry about. Your lawyer understands that low settlement offers are part of the process and they know what to do.
Make sure you’ve provided all possible evidence that could improve the settlement offer. If you’re not sure whether or not a piece of information would help, talk to your lawyer.
Work together with your lawyer to develop a counteroffer. The lawyer will ensure that the counteroffer is reasonable and fair (and thus more likely to be accepted).
You should have your lawyer put your settlement rejection in writing.
You Don’t Have to Accept a Low Settlement Offer
Not every settlement offer is going to be a fair one. If you’ve received a low settlement offer, you can counteroffer to get the compensation you deserve. Keep this list in mind when you’re trying to decide whether or not a settlement offer is fair.
Are you a victim of a personal injury incident? If so, we want to meet you and help you get compensation. Schedule a free virtual consultation today.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.