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Questions To Ask Before Accepting A Settlement

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What Questions Should You Ask Before Accepting A Personal Injury Settlement?

Every personal injury lawsuit is slightly different, so not all settlements should be treated the same, but there are a few questions that need to be asked and adequately answered before you should accept a settlement from the at fault party. In most cases, the insurance company will try to lowball you and get you to accept a quick cash settlement that allows them to get out of paying their fair share because many times the injured party is wondering how they can pay their medical expenses without the settlement. This leads to many cases getting a minimal amount for their settlement and being left with extensive bills after the fact that aren’t recoverable after the settlement has been accepted.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important questions you need to ask before accepting a personal injury settlement.
questions to ask before accepting a settlement

1. Have you completely recovered from your injuries?

One of the main factors  before accepting a settlement is whether or not your mind and body have completely recovered from the accident. This means taking into account any future medical expenses that you may incur such as physical therapy, mental therapy, future doctor visits, rehabilitation treatments, etc. Many times accident victims don’t know they are going to have long lasting problems from the injuries they sustained, especially if the injuries were to the neck, back or spine. You may not notice back pain until a few months after the accident and if you end up settling before that, you could have to pay for all of those expenses out of pocket.
Mental health is included in this as well. If you need therapy to help heal from all of the mental stress the accident has brought on, then those costs should be included in your settlement.

Often times insurance companies will try to settle with an injured party very soon after the accident.  We see this more often with folks who are not represented by a personal injury attorney.  One of the most important things we tell our clients is that you don’t want to even talk about settling until you have engaged in medical treatment to the extent that you are aware of the full nature of your injuries.  Ideally, a settlement demand won’t even be made until after someone has reached maximum medical improvement.  Getting a quick offer in the months after a serious accident is a sure red flag.

2. Are past and future lost wages included?

Lost wages from the accident are the responsibility of the at fault party. If you were not able to work for months after your accident because of your injuries, those costs are recoverable. Many insurance companies will try to leave that part out because most people don’t know that they can be compensated for any lost wages past and future. If your injuries are extensive and you won’t be able to go back to work for a long time after the settlement, make sure every last day of your future lost wages are covered or you may end up having to pay your bills without that assistance which we all know can be financially devastating in a short period of time.

3. Are you being compensated for pain and suffering?

Non-economic damages are essentially costs accrued from things that don’t have an exact number on them to calculate. This means things such as pain and suffering, mental health issues, loss of loved ones, etc. When the negligent party causes you to suffer, they are going to be held responsible, so don’t let them get away with a quick, cash settlement when you are entitled to much more. This area can be hard to put an exact number on, since it doesn’t come with a receipt for the costs like medical bills and property damages. A good personal injury attorney can help you determine how much to ask for in non-economic damages that is fair and will most likely be accepted by the at fault party or their insurance company. If you are trying to settle without a lawyer, check out our article on how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement.

4. Is property damage fully covered in the settlement?

Property damages should also be fully covered in your settlement. If you were in a car accident, repairs or replacement of your vehicle will be covered, but what about the other costs involved? Rental cars, uber rides to the auto body shop, transportation to doctors appointments, broken or damaged goods such as cell phones, personal belongings, etc that were a result of the accident are all the responsibility of the negligent party, so don’t leave anything out, no matter how small it may be. Those costs add up quickly and can make a big difference when it comes time to replace any of those items.

5. Will this settlement affect eligibility to claim punitive damages?

In some cases, the settlement may include a punitive damage exemption clause that keeps the negligent party from being liable for paying punitive damages. This is a sneaky clause that can end up leaving a lot of money on the table if it’s not caught before signing your agreement. If the at fault party acted in an exceptionally reckless manner when they caused your injuries, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These costs are meant to be a punishment towards the at fault party for willingly breaking the law and causing injuries to someone else in the process. Most times, the insurance company is not responsible for these costs, so the negligent party will have to pay the punitive damages out of pocket. Make sure the deal you are signing doesn’t include this type of exemption.

6. Did the offer come before you know all of the expenses involved?

If your settlement offer came very quickly after the accident, it’s highly likely that you don’t know ALL of the costs involved yet since personal injury lawsuit timelines differ on a case by case basis. There could be hidden costs in replacing damaged property, unknown future medical costs, future lost wages depending on how long it takes to fully recover, and much more that you may not think of right off the bat. It may be tempting to just accept the money when a big check is presented to you, but always make sure you consult with an experienced personal injury law firm before accepting any settlement because they will know what to look for and how to calculate exactly what your settlement should be. As the injured party, you never want to take on the financial costs that arise from another person’s negligent actions, so make sure you are getting fair compensation for everything.

Get Help From An Experienced Injury Attorney

If you have been injured and have been presented with a settlement offer, give us a call so we can go over your expenses and make sure you are getting a fair amount of compensation. Many settlement packages are dramatically undervalued and we want to make sure you are getting all of your expenses covered and then some. You shouldn’t have to suffer financially, physically and mentally because of someone else’s negligence, call us today to be sure you are getting the settlement you deserve so you can get your life back to normal as fast as possible and without lingering bills that your compensation package left out. We offer free consultations anytime, so don’t hesitate to reach out. At Rector Stuzynski LLC, we get you MORE.

Areas We Serve

We serve clients injured anywhere throughout the state of Colorado, but we focus on residents of these areas: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Briargate, Monument, Black Forest, Pueblo, Canon City, Larkspur, Security-Widefield, Peyton, Falcon, Calhan, Castle Rock, Teller County, El Paso County, Elbert County, Park County, Douglas County and beyond.