There are many reasons why you may be considering settling a personal injury claim. You’ve been injured in an accident and the insurance company is offering you money. While this might seem like a good idea, it may not be what’s best for you. Here are some things to consider before accepting a settlement offer from your Tampa car accident lawyer:
What is a personal injury claim and what are the different types of claims?
A personal injury can be anything from a slip and fall in a store to an on-the-job accident caused by your employer. Personal injury law covers the legal issues that arise when people, animals, or objects cause harm to one person or more. These cases include car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, or defective products.
There are three types of personal injury claims:
-Compensatory claims or “pain and suffering” cases require your attorney to prove that the defendant was legally at fault for the accident and caused damages. You can recover compensation, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering through this type of claim.
A Tampa car accident attorney can help you fill out the necessary forms and file your claim with the insurance company of the other driver.
-Non-economic cases require you to prove that a defendant’s actions were legally negligent. In these types of claims, your lawyer’s job is to show how much money or property was lost due to the accident.
–Property damage claims require you to prove that the actions of another caused damage to your property.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of settling a personal injury claim?
Settling a personal injury claim can be advantageous because it allows you to get compensation without going through months or years of legal procedures. When you settle, the defendant agrees to pay you money in exchange for dropping all future claims.
However, settling can be a disadvantage because it means that the defendant will not take full responsibility and you may not get an admission of guilt. If you settle, you won’t have the right to sue if your condition gets worse or if additional problems develop as a result of the accident.
If you decide to settle, your Tampa car accident attorney can help you determine what amount is the right one for your situation. The amount of compensation depends on a number of factors including:
- How serious your injuries are
- Whether they will last permanently or lead to long-term problems
- How much medical care do you need
- How much lost wages and other damages you suffered
The process for settling a personal injury claim
If you decide to settle a claim, your Tampa car accident lawyer will usually begin the process by talking with the defendant’s insurance company. They’ll send a letter stating that they are willing to offer a certain amount of money in exchange for ending your claim. Depending on a number of factors, your Tampa car accident lawyer will then either accept or negotiate the settlement offer with the insurance adjuster. If you and the defendant agree on a settlement amount, your attorney can prepare an official document that states:
- The date of the agreement
- The amount being offered by the defendant
- The expenses you paid for up to that point
- The defendant’s agreement to pay your attorney’s fees
Once the settlement offer is accepted, you will file this document in court and your claim will be officially closed. Both parties will sign and then the judge or a clerk of court will enter the final order for the settlement. This order states that both sides agree to settle and ends your case.
If the settlement is not accepted, your attorney can try to negotiate it again with the defendant’s insurance company. In some cases, if you want more compensation, you will need to go through a trial and present your case in front of a judge or jury.
How to deal with an insurance company when you have been injured in an accident
If you have been involved in a Tampa car accident, the insurance companies of both parties will begin to investigate and collect evidence. Insurance adjusters gather information about your injuries, damages caused by the accident, and who was to blame.
These companies will want to gather as much information as possible so they can pay less for your claim. Insurance adjusters may be reluctant to quickly offer a fair settlement because they are more concerned about their company’s bottom line than your well-being. If you are not satisfied with the amount of the offer, your Tampa car accident lawyer will help negotiate a fair settlement for you.
If you are in pain and suffering financially, it can be tempting to quickly agree to a settlement offer. Consider these factors before you accept an insurance company’s proposal:
- How much medical care will your injuries require? Your personal injury attorney can help estimate the amount of money that you’ll need for doctor visits, medications, therapy, and other costs associated with your injuries.
- What are the chances that you’ll need future medical treatment or incur other related expenses? If further medical care is likely, you may want to hold out for a larger settlement amount.
- How much will your injuries affect your ability to work and earn an income? You can get help from your attorney to determine how much you need for lost wages and other damages.
- Will, you be able to return to your previous job? If so, your lawyer can help determine the amount of money that you’ll incur from missed promotions, salary increases, and other opportunities as a result of your Tampa car accident injuries.
If you are not satisfied with the insurance company’s offer, you can discuss your options with an attorney before responding. Be sure to talk about why you think a settlement is too low and how a trial might affect the outcome of your case. If it comes down to going to court or accepting a lower amount, you’ll want to choose a settlement that offers you the most compensation.
Common mistakes people make when dealing with their own injuries
A Tampa car accident can be a rough experience, emotionally and physically. In many cases, individuals try to handle their claim on their own after being injured in an accident rather than hiring a lawyer. Although you may not need legal assistance initially, if your injuries are serious or the insurance company is being difficult, you’ll want to speak with a lawyer. You can avoid making the following costly mistakes if you enlist a personal injury attorney:
- Not having enough money to deal with your injuries (or not getting paid for missed work) – Most individuals who are injured in an accident use their savings and retirement funds to pay medical bills and loss of income; when they run out of money, they feel pressured to settle their claim quickly. This may be a big mistake because it is important to take your time and make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.
- Settling your case without getting medical help – You must see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, even if you think that your injuries are minor. Your doctor will need to create a medical record of your injuries and will help you use the settlement money to pay for future treatment.
- Making an uninformed decision about where to get treatment – Most people focus on getting immediate medical care, but it is just as important to make sure that health professionals have experience treating the types of Tampa car accident injuries that you have.
- Ignoring legal deadlines – Many people who are injured in an accident fail to take advantage of their rights by missing important deadlines for filing a claim or not keeping up with scheduled court appearances.
- Not making safety and security changes at your home – If you’re facing steep medical bills after an accident, you may decide to cut costs by not locking your doors or purchasing a home security system. However, the settlement that you receive may not be enough to cover all of your expenses in the future, leaving you vulnerable to financial problems.
The importance of choosing the right lawyer for your type of injury or accident
It is your right to choose who represents you in a personal injury case. However, you should be aware that some lawyers focus on specific types of injuries or accidents. For example, if you were injured in a Tampa car accident, then you will want to speak with a lawyer who handles automobile accident cases; if was injured at work, then you will want to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Regardless of the type of accident that you were involved in, having a lawyer with experience handling personal injury cases will allow you to focus on your recovery and let someone else handle the insurance company. It is important that your attorney has years of experience dealing with such cases so that he or she can quickly respond to the insurance carrier and present your side of the story. Contact us for a consultation about your case.