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When Is It Worth Accepting a Settlement?

Gavel on top of a stack of money.

If you have been injured in a car accident because another driver was negligent, it can be tempting to accept a settlement offer quickly and move on with your life. You may be dealing with medical bills and lost wages, which makes getting compensated quickly all the more important. However, accepting a settlement without considering whether the amount is sufficient can be a costly decision. Speaking to accident injury lawyers in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Laramie, Wyoming can help inform your decision.

When Is It Worth Accepting a Settlement?

Personal injury law recognizes that if you were injured through no fault of your own, the liable party should be responsible for covering your damages. That includes compensating you for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional stress
  • Property damage the vehicle
  • Items that were damaged or destroyed inside the vehicle

When an insurance company offers you a settlement, the amount should reflect all of your damages. Your lawyer can review the offer against the details of your accident to determine whether or not the amount is sufficient.

Your Claim Might Be Worth More Than You Think

When you send a demand letter or submit a claim, all of your damages need to be reflected in the amount of money you request. Insurance companies will often try to devalue your claim to minimize their expenses, and the best way to negotiate with them is by showing all of the harm you incurred as a result of the accident.

Qualified personal injury lawyers are familiar with all of the damages that can apply to personal injury claims. Your lawyer should go through your case with a fine-toothed comb to see which of the acceptable damages could apply in your situation. He or she will check for:

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses include the cost of going to the ER, seeing your PCP, visiting with specialists, and having diagnostic tests. Any treatments you receive should be compensated as well as any medications you need. If you suffered a catastrophic injury, your lawyer will work to include future as well as current medical expenses in your payout.

Lost Wages

Missing time from work to heal your injuries can be extremely costly. In addition to the salaried income or hourly wages you missed, you can seek compensation for benefits like 401K contributions, earned time off, missed promotions, and bonuses. If you are self-employed, your lawyer can help you estimate how much money you lost by looking at an approximation of your normal income for the time of year when the accident occurred.

General Damages

Car accidents can take a toll in ways that do not have a clear-cut price tag attached. Stress, anxiety, and physical pain all deserve compensation, even though they do not result in a bill or an obvious hit to your usual income.

Juries use their judgment to value general damages, and a settlement offer should be based on the amount of money you would receive if you went to trial. Your lawyer will educate you on how much you ask for general damages, building arguments that will maximize the amount.

Other Damages

Aside from your injuries, you deserve to be compensated for the amount it costs to repair or replace your car. You can also seek compensation for all the personal property you lost inside the vehicle.

If you are a family member pursuing a wrongful death claim, the settlement offer should cover the costs of any treatments the deceased had before passing as well as the funeral costs. Family members can sometimes claim loss of consortium, which refers to the valuable aspects of the relationship they had with the deceased.

Why Do Insurance Companies Settle?

You should always remember that everything the insurance company does is in its own self-interest. Representatives of the insurance company will try to minimize the value of your claim, even if it means you end up paying for some of your expenses out of pocket.

A settlement offer is a proposed sum of money that the claimant can accept only if he or she agrees not to pursue charges in court. It is in the interest of the insurance company to offer you a settlement if doing so allows them to avoid the legal expense of going to trial.

Why It Is Important Not to Settle for Too Little

Insurance companies understand that many people negotiate for more money, so their first offer might not be their best. In fact, many insurance companies put out a low offer quickly with the hope that the claimant will accept it before they realize their claim was worth more than the amount being offered. Accepting the settlement includes signing a release that closes the case and bars the claimant from reopening the charges at a later date.

Many people accept settlement offers quickly, only to find that their payout is not sufficient to cover all of their medical expenses or account for their lost wages. Injuries often go undetected or under-diagnosed until some time has passed, so it is important not to accept a settlement offer until the true cost of your medical expenses becomes clear.

How to Maximize Your Settlement Offer

A good personal injury attorney will put pressure on the insurance company to give you an offer that is proportionate to the severity of the accident. If the insurance company refuses to extend an offer that is reasonable, you have every right to go to trial. In the meantime, here are some techniques you can use to fight for a fair settlement:

Work With a Lawyer Who Specializes in Car Accidents

The law is complicated, and no single lawyer can specialize in all areas. It is important to choose a lawyer who has a strong history of negotiating with insurance companies on car accident settlements. Their track record is a good indicator of their future success.

Consult With Your Lawyer Before Communicating With the Insurance Company

The insurance company will likely try to get you to disclose information that they can use to devalue your claim. They might try to build a case that you were all or partly to blame for the accident or that you did not care for your injuries properly. Your lawyer can help coach you on how to handle the communications between yourself and the other side.

Collect Evidence

The insurance company will be more inclined to make you a high settlement offer if they know that you have evidence to demonstrate your damages. If you can, start right at the scene of the accident by taking photos and videos of the crash. Next, keep track of your medical bills and the time you take off work. If you were injured, you might want to keep a journal of how the injury affected your life.

Meet With Accident Injury Lawyers in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Laramie, Wyoming

If you have received a settlement offer from an insurance company, it pays to review it with an attorney before you accept. Even if you have just been involved in a crash and do not yet have a settlement offer, our accident injury lawyers in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Laramie, Wyoming are here to help. Set up a consultation by contacting Ochs Law Firm, today.

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Our experienced Wyoming personal injury lawyer, Jason E. Ochs will fight to help you recover proper compensation in a class action, pharmaceutical, and medical cases throughout multiple states. Contact us today.

Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.