Why Talk to a Lawyer Before Accepting an Insurance Settlement
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Oct 02, 2019 in Personal Injury
Many car accident claims are resolved through an insurance settlement. However, making your own decision about accepting a settlement offer is often a bad idea.
Rizk Law recommends that you discuss any initial settlement offers with a licensed attorney before you decide whether to accept. An attorney can determine if the offer will provide full compensation for your damages. If more negotiation is necessary, a lawyer can handle those negotiations on your behalf.
Below, are some of the factors one of our experienced Portland personal injury attorneys may consider when trying to determine if a settlement is fair.
Will the Offer Cover All of Your Medical Expenses?
An important consideration is whether an offer covers all current and projected medical expenses. Many accident victims are not aware of the full nature and extent of their injuries until several weeks or months after the accident.
For this reason, most personal injury lawyers wait until an accident victim has completed his or her treatment to calculate the full value of damages.
If you accept a quick settlement offer, you may be unable to recover compensation for any medical expenses you have not yet incurred because you will be required to sign a release of all future claims. At that point, you would become financially responsible for any further expenses.
In cases where an accident victim sustained serious, life-altering injuries, there may not be a full recovery. However, the injured party may reach a maximum point of healing, as determined by his or her medical provider.
Victims of these kinds of injuries have costs for ongoing care. They not only need compensation for expenses they have already incurred, they also need payment for reasonably anticipated future medical expenses related to the accident injury.
This is why it is recommended that you wait until an attorney determines the full and accurate value of your claim before considering any offer.
Once you understand the full nature and extent of your injuries, you can discuss the treatments you will need with your doctor and have your lawyer help you calculate the full value of your claim.
Are the Liens on Medicaid, Medicare and Other Final Medical Bills Covered?
Oregon allows medical providers to place a lien against an injured victim’s expected settlement check to ensure they still get paid when the damages are awarded. Any remaining balances remaining on those medical liens will come out of your final settlement check. A good attorney will negotiate with these medical providers to reduce the balances on your medical liens to help leave you with a better final award.
Are There Any Overlooked Bills or Expenses?
Often there may be additional expenses or overlooked bills that may come out of an injured victim’s final settlement. An attorney will work to ensure your final compensation provides for these and other remaining costs, while also considering the injured party’s future needs.
Are You Able to Return to Your Previous Job and/or Activities?
One aspect of a personal injury case that many victims underestimate is the impact an injury may have on their future activities.
If the accident victim is unable to return to his or her previous job, becomes disabled or must take a lower-paying job, he or she may be eligible to receive lost earning capacity damages. This award represents the difference between the earnings the victim had before the accident and the current earning potential.
Additionally, accident victims may also be eligible to recover compensation if they are no longer able to enjoy previous hobbies or activities because of the injuries they sustained.
When It is Time to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to contact victims shortly after an accident to try to get them to accept a settlement. Insurers know that accident victims may be desperate and vulnerable, making them more likely to accept a lower offer to get money faster.
However, this is a deceptive tactic that is meant to get you to agree to a settlement that is usually far below what your damages are worth. Additionally, insurance adjusters know that when a qualified personal injury lawyer is involved, the settlement value is often higher, so they may try to get you to agree to an offer before you have a chance to consult with a lawyer.
If you have been injured in an accident, or have already been offered an insurance settlement, we encourage you to call one of our Portland personal injury lawyers today.
It can be difficult for you to determine the real value of a claim on your own, especially if you have not fully factored in the total extent of your medical expenses and the impact of your injuries on your life.
An experienced attorney from Rizk Law can evaluate your claim during a free, no-obligation consultation to give you a more accurate idea about the settlement. Then, our attorneys can handle negotiations for you.