Should I Accept a Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company in Ocala, FL?
Whether you were involved in a multi-car accident or a slip-and-fall accident, the insurance company for the at-fault party has one goal: pay as little as possible to end your insurance claim.
Therefore, the insurance settlement in front of you might not be what your case is worth. On the contrary, most injury cases are worth more money than the initial settlement offers from insurance companies.
The companies hope accident victims accept the settlement amounts without seeking legal advice. Once they meet with an injury lawyer, they find out how much their claim is actually worth.
A quick personal injury settlement might be tempting, especially when you have medical bills and lost wages piling up. Receiving a settlement check for a car accident could help solve your financial troubles. However, settling a personal injury claim with the insurance company without a lawyer might not be in your best interest.
Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, meet with one of our experienced Ocala personal injury lawyers. If the offer is fair, we will tell you so that you can move forward with the settlement. If not, we can discuss how we can help you increase the settlement amount.
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Should I Accept the Settlement Offer if It Seems Fair?
Unfortunately, many people do not know whether a settlement offer is fair. They have never dealt with a personal injury case before, so they have limited knowledge of Florida personal injury laws and damages. As a result, insurance companies take advantage of your lack of experience and knowledge about claims to undervalue your damages.
An insurance adjuster does not work for you. The claims adjuster works to protect the insurance company from liability. Therefore, it is not wise to trust an adjuster when they tell you the settlement offer is fair or the best offer you can get.
If the insurance company offers to pay the policy limits, you might want to accept the settlement offer. Likewise, if you did not sustain serious injuries and the settlement offer covers all your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, you might want to accept the offer.
However, signing a settlement agreement without a lawyer representing you could be disastrous no matter the circumstances.
The settlement agreement releases ALL parties from ALL further liability. In other words, you give up your right to file a lawsuit regarding this claim against any party, even if you discover you have additional damages or other causes of action.
Therefore, it is best to have an attorney review the settlement agreement before you sign it. That is true even if you understand the damages you are entitled to receive and the value of those damages. Giving up legal rights without talking with a lawyer is never wise.
When Do You Need To Hire an Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer To Settle a Claim?
All injured parties benefit from sound legal advice about their personal injury case. However, some situations strongly indicate you need to talk with an accident attorney before you accept a settlement offer, sign any documents, or provide a statement for the insurance company.
You’re Not Sure How To Value Your Damages
Valuing damages can be tricky. Economic damages represent the monetary losses you incur. The value of these damages is the total of all costs and expenses.
Economic damages in a personal injury case include:
- Bills for medical treatment
- Loss of income and benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- In-home nursing care
- Diminished earning capacity
It is easy to overlook out-of-pocket costs. However, not including those expenses in your settlement demand could result in losing thousands of dollars in compensation.
You are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering damages. Non-economic damages are much more difficult to value.
There is no standard or statutory equation for calculating non-economic damages. Also, these damages are intangible and subjective. They include:
- Your physical pain and discomfort
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Decrease in quality of life
- Disability and impairment
A common way to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages is the multiplier method. However, the insurance company fights for the lowest multiplier. An attorney understands how to use the evidence in the case to argue for a higher multiplier to increase the value of non-economic damages.
You Sustained a Permanent Impairment or Disability
Catastrophic injuries often result in some level of impairment or disability, which could entitle you to future damages. However, proving future damages and calculating the value can be challenging.
Medical specialists and financial experts are often needed to provide expert analysis and opinions. A lawyer has the resources to hire expert witnesses to assist in accurately determining the severity and extent of your impairment and damages.
Allegations of Contributory Fault
A common tactic used by insurance companies is to shift some of the blame for the cause of the accident to the victim. By doing so, the insurance company decreases the amount of money it must pay for the claim.
Florida’s pure comparative fault laws do not bar you from receiving compensation for an accident or injury. However, it decreases the amount you receive by your level of fault. Therefore, if you are 50% at fault for the cause of an auto accident, your settlement amount is reduced by one-half.
Never admit fault for causing an accident. Be careful what you say to the insurance adjuster. Never agree to a recorded or written statement. The adjuster could intentionally misinterpret your comments to allege contributory fault.
Other Factors That Indicate You Need a Lawyer Before Accepting a Settlement Offer
If any of the following situations apply to your personal injury case, we encourage you to talk with our lawyers as soon as possible:
- Your child sustained injuries
- There are multiple parties involved in the case
- A government agency could be liable for your injuries
- Your accident involves a commercial trucking company
- A family member died because of an accident or injury
- The insurance company refuses to acknowledge or investigate your claim
- The insurance company pressures you to settle the claim before you complete medical treatment, and your doctor releases you
- The injury involved a third party while you were on the job
- You were injured because of a defective product or medical malpractice
It does not cost you anything to meet with our lawyers. Therefore, you are not losing anything by scheduling a free consultation.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation With Our Ocala Personal Injury Lawyers
We want to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available for your personal injury case. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis. You only pay attorneys’ fees if we recover money for your injury claim.
Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, contact our law office for a free consultation with an experienced Ocala personal injury attorney. We can review the offer and advise whether you are being treated fairly or if your personal injury claim is worth more money.