If you are injured due to someone’s actions or a workplace accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries and any bills accrued. However, once you’re offered a personal injury settlement, you may wonder how to determine if your offer is fair or if you should ask for more significant compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX, can review your case with you and help you determine a reasonable settlement amount.
How Do You Know If a Personal Injury Settlement Offer Is Good?
Determining whether you have been offered a fair settlement amount is difficult for the average person. Unfortunately, there is no set number associated with different injuries to use a guide, so each case must be looked at individually to evaluate if the settlement offered is acceptable.
If you work with a personal injury lawyer in Houston, TX, they will discuss the details of your case, estimate your projected care needs, and research settlements reached on claims similar to yours. This data will help you discern if accepting the compensation is a wise choice or if you should counter it.
When you have been severely injured in an accident, the last thing you want to do is go back and forth with insurance companies to obtain fair compensation. Not only is it a time-consuming process, but it can also be stressful. While you may be tempted to accept an offer to be done with the ordeal, you’ll want to exercise caution before agreeing to a settlement. Once you have received the company’s payment, you will not be able to pursue further compensation.
If your injury requires life-long treatment, you could pay far more in medical bills than you received from the settlement. Instead of accepting a settlement to be finished dealing with the issue, hire a personal injury attorney. Not only will they be able to help you secure a larger settlement, but they will also handle the stress associated with filing a claim so that you can focus on recovering from your injury.
Factors Affecting Settlement Offers
Numerous factors can impact the amount an insurance company offers you to settle. Although insurance companies want to settle out of court, they also want to pay you the lowest amount you’ll accept, which means they will usually low-ball you to see if you don’t realize what your claim is worth. The following factors will all impact what a reasonable settlement offer is:
Victim’s Contribution to the Accident
The level of fault you hold in the accident will affect the amount of money you can expect to receive from your claim. Individuals who are blameless in an accident can seek higher amounts of compensation.
For example, if you were walking on the sidewalk and hit by someone driving under the influence, you would be blameless. However, if you ran a stop sign at a four-way stop and were hit by someone who was also running a stop sign, it will be challenging to get a settlement since you are also at fault.
The type of injuries you have and their severity will play a significant role in determining an appropriate settlement amount. Head and spine injuries, limb amputation, or severe disfigurement are all injuries that make you entitled to more substantial compensation. If your injury is something that will affect you for the rest of your life, the settlement amount should reflect that and be greater than a settlement for an injury that will heal without physical limitations.
Past and Future Treatment Costs
If your injury requires ongoing treatment or therapies, your settlement amount must account for that fact. Insurance companies often offer victims a settlement that seems generous but isn’t enough to cover future care. By providing an offer soon after your injury, insurance companies hope you will accept it before you realize what your ongoing medical care will cost.
Income Losses and Projected Losses
Any settlement offer you accept should cover any wages you lost due to the accident. If your ability to earn your previous income is affected by your injuries, the settlement needs to compensate you accordingly.
Non-economic losses include diminished quality of life, pain, and suffering. Since it is difficult to put a number on a non-economic loss, your lawyer will consider similar successful settlements when deciding the amount you should request.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Prove the Extent of My Injuries?
If you are injured in an accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical care. If you do not receive treatment following the collision, it may be challenging to prove that your injuries are due to the accident. Once you seek medical care, you have begun creating a paper trail that documents your injuries and the expenses associated with them.
Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any limitations or required follow-up care, as failing to do so can jeopardize your opportunity to seek compensation. Keep track of all your medical bills, documents, and receipts from any medicine or supplies you purchased because of your injury. You’ll also want a record of any lost wages and property losses.
How Do I Calculate Care Costs for a Chronic Injury?
If the accident resulted in a medical condition that will require treatment or therapy throughout your life, correctly estimating how much it will cost can keep you and your family from struggling financially. Ideally, you should not accept a settlement until the extent of your injuries has been established and you have reached the maximum expected level of recovery.
However, depending on the scope of your medical problems, that may not be feasible. If that is the case, your lawyer will discuss your prognosis and anticipated treatment with your doctor, then consult with medical experts to get an idea of how much future care will cost.
Do I Have to Seek Medical Care to Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Without medical records showing you required care, the insurance company has no way of knowing if you are genuinely injured or not. Unless you have tangible proof from a medical professional that you were injured in the accident, you will only be able to successfully seek compensation for the damage caused to your property, such as car repairs. When you don’t seek care, it tells the insurance companies that your injuries weren’t severe.
The insurance company will assume that you don’t need compensation if you weren’t hurt badly enough to require medical treatment. You’ll want to make sure you receive follow-up care as well. Choosing to skip appointments or disregard medical advice makes insurance adjusters question the validity of your injuries.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, TX, to Handle My Claim?
While you can file a personal injury claim without a lawyer, you must negotiate with the insurance company, provide evidence supporting your claim, and handle all paperwork yourself. Since those tasks are stressful when you are healthy and well, completing them while trying to recover from an injury will be overwhelming. An experienced accident attorney will complete negotiations, collect evidence, and manage the filing.
You are entitled to compensation for your injuries and should not be held financially responsible for someone else’s mistake. To ensure you receive the maximum personal injury settlement possible, work with a lawyer who will fight for what you deserve. Reach out to our experienced team at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, and let us assist you with your legal needs.