It isn’t common, but it happens enough for it to be worth mentioning. Say it with me, now: “I will not settle my case until I know the full extent of my injuries.”
We see this happen from time to time. An insurance adjuster will speak to a personal injury victim before the victim even has a chance to speak to or retain an attorney. The insurance adjuster will offer the victim “hush money” in an amount between $500.00 and $5,000.00. They do this in hopes that you will not file a claim. This unethical practice is part of the reason that personal injury attorneys exist—to stop insurance companies from preying on the weak and/or injured.
Be wary of immediate settlement offers
The reason why this offer might seem lucrative to an injured person is that they might need cash right away, ignoring how injured or damaged they truly might be. If you are in an accident, are offered $1,000.00, accept the offer, and then sign a release, the case is over. Even if you discover that you were significantly injured, requiring tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills out of your own pocket. This is why advise our clients over and over again — don’t settle your case early.
Low offers to avoid high future payouts
Sometimes insurance companies will offer a low amount of money to settle a case after an attorney sends a demand but prior to filing a lawsuit. This is commonly referred to as “pre-lit” negotiations because they are “prior to litigation.” These offers do not offer much more than the medical bills, ignoring the potentially large claims for pain and suffering. In fact, during the litigation process, a large portion of the damages awarded by a jury comes in the form of “pain and suffering” or non-economic damages. This is because what a person goes through as a result of an injury is a much bigger deal than the cost of the medical treatment.
If you accept a low offer, it will not cover future medical bills
For instance, if you fracture your arm in a car accident, requiring surgery, the surgery may cost somewhere between $20,000 to $60,000, depending on severity. However, that injury could cause pain that will last you the rest of your life. In that case, juries are likely to award pain and suffering damages much higher than the cost of the surgery. They might award pain and suffering the six to seven-figure range depending on the circumstances and resulting disability. But before filing a lawsuit, an insurance adjuster might only make an offer in the range between $30,000 to $70,000, thinking that the claimant will just accept it because they will want the money now rather than litigating for it later.
File a lawsuit immediately
This is why it is always a good idea to file suit early on in a case when there are indications that there will be a need for a surgical procedure. If you do that then you will open the doors to the adjusters wanting to avoid full litigation of the issues, fearing what a jury might award someone who was severely injured as a result of negligence.
It is important to consider the full value of a claim in order to settle a case for top dollar. This means going through a full course of treatment until you either feel better or reach “maximum medical improvement.” This will help substantiate exactly how much damages you endured as a result of the accident and will result in resolving the case for nothing less than what you are owed.
If you are injured as a result of another’s negligence, you need to contact Las Vegas car accident lawyer Brian Boyer at the Injury Firm, Las Vegas, so he can personally go over your options and let you know exactly what needs to be done to maximize your case.