If you received a low settlement offer from the insurance company after sustaining injuries in a serious accident, it may leave you wondering if your case was mishandled. This is especially true when you hear of cases similar to yours that received higher settlement amounts.
Do I have reasonable expectations?
Some people question if they can settle their own cases. The basic rule of thumb is that if you don’t think you require more than $2,500 for medical and property expenses, then you can probably handle your claim on your own.
If you think your current and future bills, time lost from work and property damage will total more than that, then you will want to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Discuss your expectations with your lawyer before you hire him or her. Mention research you’ve done about similar cases and the amounts for which they were settled. A lawyer should tell you if your research is valid.
What determines a settlement offer?
The purpose of a settlement is to help you recuperate financially, ostensibly to get back to how you were prior to your accident. If physical limitations make that impossible, then the new goal will be to compensate you satisfactorily for your loss.
However, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you a low insurance settlement so that their bottom line is not negatively affected. Because private companies are free to negotiate terms of contracts – like an insurance contract – they aren’t technically breaking the law if they don’t pay you as much as the next person.
Therefore, to avoid a low insurance settlement, negotiations are necessary. For your previous settlement, a demand letter should have been drafted.
A successful demand letter will include evidence of the following:
- past and future medical costs;
- lost wages;
- proof of inability to work or work a similarly compensable job; and
- pain and suffering.
The benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that he or she will shoulder the burden of tedious tasks like writing demand letters and can research what you have available to you in terms of compensation. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on an insurance company to be so transparent.
Did you hire a “Master of None”?
Consider the saying, “Master of None.” It is a saying that means a great deal to the law office of D.J. Banovitz. Why? Because it speaks to mastery of a craft. It is pulled from the figure of speech, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Basically, if you focus on too many things, you will be average in each and great at none. In this case, it means a mastery of a particular area of the law.
While a lawyer might handle a lot of different types of personal injury cases, he or she may not know how to handle any of them properly if the attorney specializes in none of them. The reason you received a low insurance settlement may be because your lawyer’s practice is too broad.
There are certain areas of law in which attorneys will specialize because of their intricacy and possibility for successful client compensation like:
- bicycle accidents;
- car accidents;
- pedestrian accidents; and
- slip and fall or premise liability.
If you have questions about what you should expect in terms of a settlement for a personal injury claim, call the law office of D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 for a free consultation.