A settlement is the amount of money offered to an individual following a personal injury to avoid going to trial. This outcome is quite favorable for most people compared to going through a long and complicated trial. But, unlike a trial outcome that’s quite often fair, a settlement offer can leave the parties involved content but not always satisfied. Personal injury claims can be complicated, as several factors are involved in ensuring you get a reasonable settlement offer.
According to a popular auto accident reports notes, not all auto accident victims receive fair settlements. While in other instances, the defense ends up paying a premium to dissolve the case. With all these differences, how do you know if you’re getting a good settlement offer? Here are several factors you can use to determine if your settlement offer is good.
Determining the party at fault is the step in determining if the settlement offer received is suitable. The determination of fault is directly related to the outcome of any auto accident case and claim. The party responsible for the accident is legally liable for the injured individual’s damages. However, in some cases, there may be more than one party responsible for the accident. In such instances, the victim’s damages are distributed to the various parties involved.
When an insurance company receives an insurance claim file, they first investigate how the accident transpired. Next, the insurance company evaluates the circumstance and evidence to determine if the insured or the other driver was responsible. If the insured driver is 100% responsible, then they should pay for all the damages.
But if you played a part in the accident, then the settlement offer may not be as high. Sometimes, the insurance company can even deny your claim.
Analyze the Damages
Do you have any injuries from the accident? If yes, what type of injuries are those? For instance, if you were involved in an auto vehicle accident, you may have experienced back and head injuries. These are the most common injuries in car accidents. Ensure you analyze all your injuries. Apart from that, it’s vital to assess the damage these injuries have on your ability to perform everyday tasks and your life. All these aspects play a significant role in determining the value of the settlement you receive.
However, ensure that you document everything. Without the proper documentation, it can prove challenging to acquire your claim. Make sure you request your medical records. Ensure that your:
- MRI tests, CT scans, and X-Rays have a separate bill. Make sure you also get a record from the physician who analyzed your results.
- Rescue and ambulance fees are included.
- Emergency room treatment fees come with a separate bill.
- Also include the cost of crutches, slings, or other medical equipment.
Apart from the medical damages, it’s essential to list your general or non-economic damages. While it may be impossible to quantify, they are still important, as they indicate the accident’s impact on your life. Some of these general damages include:
- Distress not being able to hold your child or lift your body
- Inability to perform tasks you usually do like gardening or running
- Losing your job
- Inability to sleep due to trauma or pain because of the accident
Your lawyer can help ensure that you get a settlement offer for both general and medical damages.
Insurance Coverage Limit
The type of insurance coverage a defendant has played a significant role in the compensation an insurance company can offer. For instance, if the driver at fault has an insurance policy limit of around $50,000 for injuries, then that’s the maximum amount the insurance company is obligated legally to cover for your losses and harms. It doesn’t matter if your lost wages, medical costs, quality of life losses, and other expenses exceed that amount.
However, you still have the option of obtaining more than the driver’s insurance policy limit by either collecting directly from the defendant or filing suit.
Your Attorney’s Fee
Not all personal injury lawyers charge their clients’ fees up-front for their services. A good settlement offer should include all your damages and your attorney’s fee. On average, a typical car accident lawyer will charge 33% to 40% of the settlement fee. However, they can only get their fee after you approve and are satisfied with the settlement.
While the outcome of your settlement fee may depend on the factors above, it’s always essential to ensure you have an excellent lawyer by your side. A lawyer will help ensure that you get the best possible outcome.