You have a lot to deal with in the days, weeks, and months following your car accident. Just figuring out how to get by on a day-to-day basis can be tough, but everything can be an even bigger struggle when you’re trying to cope with the financial realities of your situation. Medical bills quickly come due, and your inability to work can leave you on rocky financial footing.
As stressful as that can be, you may be able to find relief through a personal injury lawsuit. But even if you’re offered a quick settlement by an insurance company, you might want to think twice before accepting it. After all, quickly settling your case might not be in your best interests.
Why you might not want to accept an initial settlement offer
Insurance companies are adept at getting accident victims to agree to settlements that are far less than the victims’ claims are actually worth. With that in mind, here are some things that you need to take into consideration before you agree to settle your personal injury case:
- The true extent of your damages: You’re not going to know how close a settlement offer is to your true losses if you don’t take a comprehensive look at the harm that has been caused to you. Sure, you’ll want to assess your incurred medical expenses and your lost wages, but don’t forget to take into account your anticipated losses as well. After all, your injuries might affect your ability to work for a long time to come, and you might need extensive medical and rehabilitative care for a while. Also, don’t undervalue the pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life that has been unfairly thrust upon you.
- Insurance companies know how to make money: Insurance companies remain profitable by taking premiums and paying out as little as possible in claims. But to do so, they oftentimes engage in sneaky tactics that try to trick accident victims into agreeing to a settlement. This might include saying that an offer is final, that they can’t offer over a certain amount, or raising doubt as to the strength of your evidence. Don’t fall for these sly tactics, though. Instead, talk to your attorney to get a clear sense of where your case stands.
- Your amount of fault: Under Virginia law, your recovery can be reduced by the amount of fault that is assigned to you. So, as an insurance company approaches you, it may try to play up the amount of fault that you’re responsible for. But you need to have an accurate picture of your role in the accident since your blame might not be as bad as the insurance company claims. Only then can you make an accurate assessment of whether your recovery is likely to be diminished if you win at trial and, if so, by how much.
Are you ready to fight for the outcome that you deserve?
Your personal injury lawsuit can be a financial lifeline. That’s why you owe it to yourself to be as thorough and as aggressive as possible in building and presenting your claim. You’ll need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your position, and you’ll need to anticipate the other side’s arguments as well as prepare to counter them. You’ll want to know applicable statutory and case law, and you’ll want to know how to deploy the rules of evidence to your advantage.
In other words, you’ll need to know how to confidently navigate every legal aspect of your claim. If you’d like assistance in that regard and want to maximize your ability to recover compensation for the full extent of your damages, then now may be the time for you to reach out to an attorney of your choosing to discuss the matter further.