If you are injured because of the negligent conduct of another person or company, you are entitled to seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on your case, it could be settled out of court or go to trial. One of the key factors in deciding whether to take your matter before a judge or jury is the settlement amount you anticipate. But what is a good settlement?
A good settlement in your case is something that is subjective to your case as no two cases are alike. However, a settlement should be considered good if it covers certain expenses deemed essential. Every injured person wants to maximize their compensation whether they agree to an insurance company’s settlement offer or takes their case to trial.
One way to maximize your potential compensation is to retain an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer. South Florida Law, PLLC will evaluate your claim, work with insurance companies, and take your case to court if necessary. Before accepting any settlement offer, contact our office at (954) 932-7877.
Determining Whether a Settlement is Good Requires Valuing Your Florida Personal Injury Claim
Before you consider accepting an insurance settlement offer, you need to properly value your claim. A common tactic employed by insurance companies is to offer a “good faith” but low settlement offer hoping that an injured victim accepts. By accepting a settlement offer, you release the insurance company from any future liability. This means that, should your condition worsen or your recovery not go as planned, you are prohibited from suing for more money. Not being able to sue could be a significant problem if you are unable to return to work when you thought or medical complications require additional treatment or hospital stays. Insurance companies realize that many injured individuals will take a fast financial settlement rather than go through the longer litigation process.
An experienced Hollywood, FL personal injury attorney will help you understand the actual cost of your injuries. In many cases, this could take weeks or months, especially if you suffered severe or permanent injuries. You want to ensure that any settlement will compensate you for your total losses, including any future medical treatments or lost income.
Elements of a Fair Personal Injury Settlement in Florida
How do you value your claim? In a good personal injury settlement in Florida, you should expect to be compensated for your injuries and damages.
Medical Bills and Property Damages
A settlement should, at the very minimum, cover any costs you have incurred as a direct result of the accident. These costs include all your past medical bills, any future medical treatment you may need as a result of the accident, and any property damage that occurred as a result of the crash.
When valuing your medical costs, it is crucial to have a viable prognosis of your anticipated recovery. For example, you could have been injured in a rear-end collision and hurt your neck. The initial medical examination only finds some soft tissue damage that should heal within a couple of weeks. However, the extent of neck and back injuries is not always evident. An early settlement amount will probably not be sufficient if a ruptured disc or other injury develops because of the accident. You also need to be aware of the length of physical therapy or other treatment you could require. A pragmatic Hialeah personal injury lawyer will work closely with your doctors to form a realistic opinion regarding your recovery and medical needs.
Another economic loss people incur when they are injured is lost wages. A severe injury could keep you out of work for days, weeks, or months. In the most serious cases, an injured accident victim might not be able to return to work at all. A fast settlement might appear to be the windfall you need to get through a difficult time. However, you are entitled to be compensated for your full lost income, including any money you would lose in the future because of a diminished earning capacity. If your injury is permanent, then a financial expert could be necessary to estimate the amount of income you would have earned if you were not injured. If a settlement does not take these factors into consideration, it is not a good settlement.
Quality of Life
In many accident cases, the victim may never be able to make a full recovery, that is go back to how they were before the accident. This could mean not being able to participate in activities you enjoyed before the accident, like going to the gym or playing sports. As a result of the accident, you may only be able to work part-time or be unable to earn a living that can support your needs. There are many factors to be considered when it comes to compensation that has to do with your future. That is why it is important to hire an experienced Hollywood, FL personal injury attorney to help guide you and get you the compensation you need. An insurance company will not typically take the time or effort to consider the impact your injury has on your life.
Pain and Suffering
What is pain and suffering? Pain and suffering is an amount that is paid to a victim for the victim’s emotional distress that a person has as a result of an accident. Pain and suffering is a term used for non-economic “general” damages. Pain and suffering can’t be calculated by adding up bills and receipts. Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.2 states that “there is no exact standard for measuring such damage. The amount should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.”
In many cases, if an insurance company offers pain and suffering as part of the settlement offer, it is usually determined through a multiplier. For example, your medical bills for a broken arm could be $2,500. The insurance company decides to use a multiplier of two to determine your pain and suffering compensation, or $5,000. While this might be adequate, it does not look at your individual suffering. No two people experience pain in the same manner. Additionally, there could be excessive emotional and mental effects, such as loss of sleep, anxiety, or humiliation. A seasoned Aventura personal injury attorney will work to tailor pain and suffering compensation to the victim.
Filing a Lawsuit or Accepting an Insurance Settlement in Florida
As stated above, in many cases, an insurance company will offer a fast settlement. This is typically done to avoid litigation with the hope that a check will satisfy the injured victim. However, you are not required to accept the first offer and are permitted to negotiate. Having legal representation is helpful at this stage because a Miami personal injury attorney will value your claim. If communication is through an attorney, an insurance adjuster is less likely to receive answers that could be used to limit or deny a claim. Additionally, your Hialeah personal injury attorney will have an idea of the legal strength of your case. If the evidence clearly shows that another person was at fault, accepting a fast settlement might not be in your best interests.
Deciding to take your case to court tells an insurance company that you are serious. If the accident investigation and discovery process uncovers evidence in your favor, the insurance company is more likely to increase its offer or agree to your counter-offer. However, if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, taking them to court might be the best option to maximize your potential compensation.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Attorney to Review Your Personal Injury Settlement
A good personal injury settlement should put you back in the position you were in before the accident or injury. This means that any medical expenses should be covered and you should be compensated for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering. The attorneys at South Florida Law, PLLC are available to help you understand what your claim should be worth. No two personal injury cases are the same, so each evaluation requires professional attention to detail. Contact Hallandale Beach personal injury lawyer Jared K. Newman, Esq. at (954) 932-7877 to discuss the specifics of your case so he can help you get the recovery you deserve.