If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, the first thing to do is to calculate the extent of your damages and find own value of the claim. If you think the other party was negligent, which resulted in your injury, you are entitled to benefit from them. However, first, you must know your settlement requirement and worth before negotiating with the other party. However, it takes expertise to recognize a good settlement offer and know when to accept it.
What is a Good Settlement offer?
According to the personal injury lawyers at Lucas, Macyszyn & Dyer Law Firm, a good settlement offer is based on many factors and may vary from case to case. Any offer that can cover the present and future costs you might have to bear because of your injury and puts you back in the same position as before an injury can be considered a good settlement offer. Insurers work with charts and tables to determine the best they can offer you and may use several tactics to offer you a lowball settlement amount or completely deny you the claim.
Factors affecting the settlement amount
Every insurance company works with its protocols while making the payment for the claim. The insurers use various methods and mathematical calculations to finally come to a settlement package. Typically, the amount is based on these factors-
1. The severity of your injuries
It is one of the most significant factors, and the extent of personal injuries determines the entire package. If the injury is minor, no matter the extent of the other party’s fault, you are not entitled to a huge amount. However, you are entitled to a bigger compensation if there are major injuries and quantifiable damage to the body or property. A good settlement offer should be based on considering the past and future likely costs of treatment. If your medical expenses are much higher than what you are being offered, it is best not to accept the offered amount.
2. Future loss of income
Many severe personal injury cases are not treated in a month or two. They may take a long time and thus result in future medical bills and expenses in the long run for the medical treatment. Moreover, a long-term injury might cause job termination, and a good settlement offer should consider the plaintiff’s future income losses. Hence, it is significant to look into the future and imagine all possible future scenarios after a personal injury before deciding on the final settlement offer.
3. Determining the fault percentage
While calculating the amount, insurers always look at the evidence to decide whether you were in any way responsible for the accident. If there was even a partial involvement, the insurance company might significantly reduce your claim amount, or you may not even get anything, depending on the state laws.
What to do when you are offered the first settlement amount?
Many personal injury case victims get too excited when they receive the first settlement offer from the insurance companies. The victims bear the losses and are under pressure to cover the costs. Hence, the first amount may seem to be a big relief. However, it is premature to accept the first offer because the insurance companies will not offer you a decent amount. Also, once you have accepted the settlement offer and later realized there are additional costs to bear, there is no going back.
Who pays for the settlement?
If you have negotiated and agreed to the final settlement offer with the insurance company, they will pay your personal injury lawyer at once. Depending on your need, you can also request structured installments. It takes 1 to 6 weeks for the insurers to release the amount. Your personal injury lawyer will take their agreed-upon fees from the amount and issue a check for the remaining balance.
What should a good settlement offer pay you?
Special damages include future earnings, medical expenditures, and other financial losses. Several other intangible damages include pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of society, etc. A good settlement amount is calculated by taking all these damages into account.
This is quite a complicated process; without the right knowledge, you might accept a lowball settlement amount. Hence, it is important to consult an experienced attorney for your case.