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Should you accept a settlement after an accident?



Accidents are extremely unfortunate and unpredictable events.  No one is prepared for them and in the aftermath, it is only normal to make decisions in a hurry. But once your injuries are patched up and you are on the mend, you must be patient and calculative regarding any settlements and negotiations that are to be made.

Road safety cannot be guaranteed. Car or motorcycle accidents result from violation of traffic laws, driving under the influence or distracted driving. Even if you are cautious, accidents can happen anytime. Slip and fall injuries are also equally dangerous.  If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, then you are entitled to compensation from the insurer of the person who was at fault. However, you cannot trust his/her insurer to pay you fair compensation. Insurers look out for their own interests and it is likely that they would offer you much less than what you actually deserve.

It is very important to have a clear and concise idea regarding how much you deserve as coverage of damages when you have been injured in an accident.

Determining the appropriate compensation

There is no thumb rule to determine exactly how much is owed to you as compensation. Every case is as individualistic as the circumstances of the accident and the injuries sustained differ from person to person.

While there is no exact measure to calculate damages, you can still tentatively arrive at a ballpark figure by factoring in the extent of your injuries, loss of income, emotional trauma, disruption of lifestyle, cost of treatment etc. There are two kinds of damages caused by an accident, such as:

Special damages

These are economic damages that refer to how much money you lost as a result of a motorcycle or car accident, slip and fall or a dog bite. This is a damage that is calculated in dollars and includes medical bills, cost of therapy, loss of income and other financial damages.

General damages

These are non-tangible losses and are non-economic in nature. But these losses can have a huge effect on your life. They include PTSD, emotional distress, overall changes in your lifestyle etc.

When to opt for a settlement?

In case you have time restrictions and are willing to accept smaller compensation, you can accept the settlement that the insure offers. If your accident involves a lack of factual information, has certain complexities and who is at fault is still undetermined, you may think about accepting a settlement. Even though it is recommended that you consult a lawyer and allow him/her to go thoroughly through your case and give you the correct advice. He/she may also be able to produce evidence that will not deprive you of the rightful compensation.

Things to consider before accepting a settlement

  • Quick and hasty settlements are usually unfair for accident victims because the value of most accident claims is much higher than the initial settlement offers. You may make a counter-offer or reject the settlement completely.
  • Settlement agreements are final and a victim cannot ask more money in the future or take the case to court. If you quickly agree to a settlement, you lack the advantage of getting full value. Suppose some unexpected complications arise like job loss or health deterioration, you will not be able to settle those if you already accepted a nominal settlement.
  • Some injuries get worse with time and may even become permanent. In such cases, an early settlement proves to be a huge loss. One should never accept a settlement until all injuries are completely healed; consider future surgeries and rehabilitation as well.
  • Vehicle repairs, alternate transportation, lost wages, therapy, mental trauma, loss of enjoyment in life activities, out-of-pocket expenses for transportation and assistive devices like crutches are often not considered in a settlement. An experienced personal injury lawyer can present evidence of such losses and get you fair compensation.

A personal injury lawyer deals with the at-fault person’s insurer and protects you from getting manipulated. While it may be a tempting offer initially, the initial settlement offered by the insurer is likely to be stripping you of the deserved compensation. It is advisable to not make a settlement on the basis of immediate need of money and consult a professional lawyer. It is also recommended that after an accident, you take extra care of your health and appoint skilled professionals to do what they are best at. Lawyers working with Claim Settlement ensure that fair negotiations are made and you can be stress-free during this entire process.

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