If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida and the insurance company has offered you a settlement, you may still want to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Accepting a settlement from an insurance company without speaking to an attorney could prove to be a big mistake, preventing you from collecting the total compensation you deserve for your injuries.
You probably don’t need an attorney to accept a settlement after a minor accident where no one was hurt. However, you should definitely speak with an attorney before accepting a settlement if you find yourself having to deal with:
- Serious injuries
- Long-term disabilities
- Accidents involving a commercial vehicle
- Recovering lost wages
- Long-term medical treatment
We understand the temptation of wanting to accept a quick settlement. You’re laid up, unable to work, and the bills are piling up. An offer of a few thousand dollars will fix your immediate problems – but what about your long-term medical needs? What if you’re still incurring medical bills a year from now related to your accident or are unable to return to your previous line of work because of the injuries you sustained?
Never agree to a settlement amount unless you are sure that it will cover the entire cost of your injuries.
The Insurance Companies Aren’t on Your Side
The auto insurance companies aren’t on your side. They aren’t concerned about making you “whole” again. The insurance company is a business. Paying out big settlements is bad for their bottom line, and they’re going to try and get away with paying as little as they have to – nothing, if they can.
An insurance company’s initial settlement offer is usually very low compared to the total costs of your injuries. For instance, what might seem like minor back pain at the time of the accident might actually be a herniated disc that will require major surgery at a future date. Once you accept their offer, your case is settled and the insurance companies is off the hook for any further responsibility; you, on the other hand, may still be facing thousands of dollars of additional medical expenses.
Recovering the full compensation for treatment that your injuries require after an accident is never a simple process. Dealing with the insurance company on your own can be confusing and frustrating. That’s why having an experienced Lutz accident attorney is so important. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complicated claims process, negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies, represent you in court and protect your rights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury lawsuit requires proof that the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. Your opponent is attempting to gather evidence to counter your claim. You can hurt your case by posting information about the injury or the situation in general. Even innocent posts, like photos of you with friends in a social setting, can be used as evidence that you have not been injured as seriously as you claim. As a general rule, refrain from posting during your case.
There are three types of damages you can suffer following an injury, compensatory / economic damages, non-economic damages, and exemplary / punitive damages.
Damages that can be measured in dollars are compensatory damages or economic damages. Missed work, medical bills, and household expenses fall under this category. Economic damages are contrasted with non-economic damages, which don’t have a dollar amount, but are still effects of the accident. The term refers to feelings of pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and impairment.
Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are meant to punish the negligent party for causing the victim harm recklessly or intentionally.
The time it takes to reach a settlement depends on how complex your case is.
If you hire an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit, it could take many months or years before you reach a settlement agreement or jury verdict. The discovery phase involves interviews, depositions, and document requests and typically lasts from a few weeks to several months. When a case goes to trial, the court preparation can take several months or even years.
Don’t Let the Insurance Companies Pressure You
Don’t let the insurance companies pressure you into accepting a settlement until you know the true costs of your injuries. If you have been injured in an accident in Lutz, Lakeland and Winter Haven, please call the Rivas Law Group before agreeing to a settlement. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our Florida personal injury lawyers. We’ll review the facts in your case and help you determine if the settlement you’re being offered will fairly compensate you for your injuries.
If you think hiring a lawyer is too expensive, consider this: The Rivas Law Group handles most personal injury cases on a contingency basis. That means that if we decide to accept a personal injury case, there are no up-front costs to our clients for our services. Our fee is a percentage of the settlement, which means we only collect a fee after we’ve won your case.