Top Settlement Do’s and Don’ts From a Personal Injury Lawyer
After a serious car crash or catastrophic accident, the insurance company may approach you about a settlement. While a lump sum payment may seem appealing, you should always be cautious. Once you accept a settlement, you usually can’t go back later and demand more compensation. Keep reading to learn the basics of settlement negotiation from the experienced personal injury attorneys at Crosley Law.
Understand the Value of Your Injury Claim
It’s almost impossible to make a settlement demand or respond to an offer unless you understand the real value of your injury claim. In Texas, a victim may be entitled to a variety of compensation (or damages):
- Economic damages: Reimbursement of your out-of-pocket expenses related to the crash or injury, such as lost income, medical expenses, home modifications, and attendant care
- Non-economic damages: Compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium
- Punitive damages: Compensation awarded by a judge or jury to punish someone whose intentional behavior or gross negligence injured another person
While some damages might seem clear-cut, others are more difficult to calculate and understand.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation for Injuries?
At Crosley Law, we carefully investigate our clients’ injury claims and calculate all their damages. Our injury lawyers consider a wide array of potential losses and consult with experts when necessary. For example, in a catastrophic injury claim, a victim needs to do more than just add up their medical bills and missed work.
You’ll also need to estimate future medical needs (which might include additional surgeries, testing, and therapy) and lost earning potential. Similarly, you need to assign a dollar figure to the decline in quality of life that you may experience if you can’t pursue your favorite hobbies, if you are going to struggle with accessibility, if your relationships with loved ones change, and much more.
In these claims, we frequently consult with life planning, vocational, and medical experts to figure out exactly what our clients have lost and assign a dollar amount to those losses.
Evaluate the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Coverage
While some drivers and companies purchase policies with significant policy limits, Texas’ minimum requirements are modest. For example, a driver only needs a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage per person with up to $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident.
“…a driver only needs a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage per person with up to $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident.”
RELATED ARTICLE: What’s an Underinsured Motorist, and How Can I Protect Myself?
No matter how large your financial and emotional losses are, most accident victims’ compensation is limited by the insurance policies involved in their claims. You’ll need to identify every insurance policy that applies in your case and its policy limits. Depending on your circumstances, you might have claims against the at-fault party’s liability insurance, your personal injury protection (PIP), your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM), and other policies.
Don’t Accept the Insurance Company’s First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are for-profit companies, not good neighbors. They do their best to cut the value of victims’ claims and sometimes even negotiate in bad faith. When an accident victim has not hired a lawyer, the insurance company will almost always try to take advantage of them.
RELATED ARTICLE: How Long Does It Take to Get Money After a Settlement?
When an insurance adjuster makes their first settlement offer, it’s usually at the bottom of their settlement authority, or the range that they can settle the claim for. They intend to negotiate back-and-forth with the victim, hopefully landing on a final settlement value that is significantly lower than the policy limits.
Consult with an Experienced Texas Injury Lawyer
While you can settle a serious injury claim without a lawyer, it’s rarely in your best interest. The personal injury lawyers at Crosley Law often meet with accident victims who tried to save money by negotiating settlements on their own. Later on, they discover that their injuries were more serious than they originally thought, and their settlements now seem unfair. Unfortunately, we can’t always help them that late in the process—most Texas settlements become full and final once they’re accepted.
RELATED ARTICLE: What Can You Do When an Insurance Company Acts in Bad Faith?
Rather than take that risk, it’s smart to consult with a lawyer before accepting a personal injury settlement. Our injury lawyers handle personal injury claims on a contingent fee basis. You won’t pay a fee unless we help you recover compensation. That means your initial consultation is always free and there’s no upfront financial risk.
And your initial consultation can be incredibly valuable. We’ll listen to your story, ask questions, and learn as much as possible about your claims. Then, we’ll help you understand your legal options and make suggestions about how you should move forward. And if you decide to work with a Crosley Law attorney, you’ll receive sophisticated legal advice and a team that’s willing to stand up to the insurance company during negotiations and litigation.
Crosley Law: We Demand Fair Compensation for Our Clients
If you or a loved one are considering a personal injury settlement, it’s time to consult with Crosley Law. To request a free consultation, simply complete our simple, online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. We’d love to hear about your situation and help you learn about your legal options.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
Car vs. Pedestrian: Who Is at Fault for the Accident?May 10, 2022
No amount of money will erase the emotional trauma of being in a car crash as a pedestrian. However, fair compensation for your suffering and financial costs is one way you can begin to rebuild your life and find some closure. Securing that fair compensation might be more complicated than you’d expect, however—especially when you’re […]
Is it Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?Apr 22, 2022
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about personal injury attorneys. Many people are reluctant to seek out legal representation after a car or truck accident, or even medical malpractice, because of stories they’ve heard or what they’ve seen on TV. Often, they’re particularly concerned about the costs associated with hiring a personal injury […]
Texas Personal Injury Law Changes: Texas Tort ReformApr 19, 2022
Unexpected accidents happen more frequently than most of us like to admit. Car wrecks, workplace injuries, even major trucking crashes occur every day. Often, these unexpected tragedies were preventable, if only someone had put down their phone while driving, promptly addressed a workplace safety issue, or performed their required duties. In the eyes of the […]
What Is a Medical Lien—and How Will it Affect My Personal Injury Settlement?Apr 06, 2022
We probably don’t have to tell you that dealing with medical bills, insurance companies, and a mountain of paperwork is not easy—especially when you’re also trying to recover from the injury that caused it all. If you’ve made a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how long it will take to get the compensation […]
How to Negotiate a Settlement With an Insurance AdjusterMar 23, 2022
Whether you find negotiations intimidating or exciting, taking on an insurance company after a car accident or other incident can be a roller coaster of emotion for you and your family — especially if one of you is healing from serious injuries. If your life was negatively affected due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, […]
NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit: What Parents Need to KnowMar 14, 2022
For years, Similac and Enfamil were popular baby formulas, often given to premature babies in NICUs. However, for decades, there has been research suggesting that cow’s milk-based formulas can make premature infants ill. Our personal injury lawyers are helping children and families who have been harmed by NEC and other conditions related to the consumption of Similac […]
Protecting Yourself: A Comprehensive Personal Injury Settlement GuideMar 11, 2022
When you’re going through a tough recovery after an injury and facing an uncertain future, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’re getting cheated by your insurance company. Filing a personal injury claim can be stressful and frustrating enough on its own. When you finally see a settlement offer, it can […]
Depression After a Car Accident: Common Causes and SymptomsFeb 14, 2022
A car accident can turn you and your loved one’s lives upside down. Car accidents can lead to financial, physical, mental, and emotional hardships for victims and their families. After you experience a devastating accident, it is important to call an experienced personal injury attorney so you can get the compensation you deserve to help […]
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?Feb 01, 2022
After a car wreck, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might offer you a quick settlement. They might even tell you that it’s not worth it to hire a San Antonio car accident attorney. It can be hard to decide what to do or where to turn to. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and the […]
5 Common Bicycle Accident Injuries: How a San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can HelpJan 31, 2022
As avid cyclists, the team at Crosley Law knows how satisfying—and dangerous—bicycles can be. While it’s always in your best interest to use protective equipment and follow all local ordinances, even careful cyclists can end up with serious injuries after bicycle accidents with cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles. Our San Antonio personal injury lawyers represent […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.