If an insurance company has sent you a settlement offer, you might not know what to do. Should you take it? Most personal injury attorneys would want to take a long look at it before telling you to do so.
How do you evaluate an offer, though? A personal injury attorney will examine these three concerns before telling a client to take a settlement.
Before a personal injury lawyer tells a client to agree to anything, they will want to know how far the client is from full physical recovery. Bear in mind, some people never fully recover and will need long-term care for years or even the rest of their lives.
An attorney will want to see medical reports to assess how far along a client's recovery is and how much more room for improvement they might have. After that, they'll want to recover compensation for previously paid medical bills and upcoming needs, including therapy, medical devices, and drugs. You don't want to settle before you're fairly certain about what you will need financially several years into the future.
The insurance company's claims adjuster has a number in mind. They base this number on industry data from similar cases in the region where the claimant lives. Personal injury attorneys will do the same thing based on their experience with previous clients in similar circumstances.
Oftentimes, there are notable differences between these two sets of numbers. A personal injury attorney may negotiate with the insurer to try to tighten the gap. If they can't close the gap, they may have to threaten or even follow through in a lawsuit.
Pain and Suffering
Insurance companies use a multiplier to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. Traditionally, individuals in the industry use a multiplier between 1.5 and 5. They apply the multiplier to the total medical expenses to calculate total compensation. Once more, this can produce a gap between where the two sides stand on the settlement.
In an instance like this, a lawyer will tell a client to keep a journal. This allows them to document the days their client felt pain and how much they experienced it. It serves as a negotiating tool and also something of a threat. The lawyer is telling the insurer a jury could learn about the client's pain and suffering. Ideally, the insurer understands that a jury judgment could be worse than a settlement. Generally, insurers want to control their costs, and settling helps them do that.
To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.