Knowing how to increase settlement value after an injury ensures that you, the victim, are awarded the money you deserve. As the term suggests, settlement value is the amount of compensation a claimant receives for a personal injury claim. Though the value of the settlement can be influenced by factors such as insurance policy limits, usually, the settlement amount is arrived at by the insurance company’s claims adjuster. The number arrived at is typically nothing more than an average calculated from similar claims and less likely any unique circumstances contributing to your injuries.
Keep in mind that the settlement value determined by the claims adjuster is only an offer until you accept it. You, the claimant, have every right to negotiate a settlement to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You can, and have every right to, increase the value of your settlement.
How to Increase Settlement Value?
Here are five meaningful ways to do so:
1. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
The best way to ensure that you will receive full and just compensation in pursuing a personal injury claim is by consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer before accepting a settlement. Hardy Wolf & Downing offers free consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss your case. Do not underestimate the benefits of having the voice of experience on your side. Personal injury law is complex. That is why insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them. They want nothing more than for you to settle for far less than your case is really worth. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer will greatly help you increase the settlement value of your claim.
2. Never Take What the Insurance Adjuster Tells You at Face Value
If there is a sure way to increase settlement value and a singular reason to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, it’s to deal with the insurance company and their adjusters. Otherwise, with no legal experience, it is more than certain that you will be taken advantage of. Even though you are legally entitled to it, insurance companies will work hard to justify paying you as little as possible. Their adjuster will be exceptionally convincing at what he or she has determined as just compensation. Listen to what they have to say, but you should never take what is offered by an adjuster at face value before consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will act as your personable advocate and negotiate a settlement to your benefit, not theirs. If the insurance company does not negotiate a just settlement, your attorney can navigate the legal system for you, file a lawsuit if necessary, and represent you in court.
3. Don’t Fall Victim to Self Guilt
Over the years, popular culture has often portrayed victims of negligence and, especially, their lawyers as nothing more than “sue-happy.” The insurance industry and the media have successfully pushed the stereotype that anyone seeking just compensation for an injury is driven by greed—not because of a legitimate claim. As a result, people often feel compelled to either accept the first offer from an insurance company or to tough it out and give up their personal injury claim out of misplaced guilt that they are getting something for nothing. Though it’s natural to feel a measure of responsibility or guilt when injured because of another’s negligence, do not succumb to stereotypes. Understand that by law, you are entitled to pursue a personal injury claim if you are a victim of negligence. You owe it to yourself to visit a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. Let the voice of experience inform you if you have a legitimate claim, not the insurance company.
4. Check for All Available Insurance Coverage
This way to increase your settlement value is sometimes overlooked. Knowing about all insurance coverage is important, especially if your injuries are more costly than the policy limits. Know your sources for insurance coverage. In many instances, there may be two or three different policies providing coverage in the event of an accident. When injured it is perfectly legal for victims to collect from multiple insurance policies at the same time. Be sure to know or find out all the various insurance coverage that may be available.
5. Keep Track of Expenses Related to Your Injury
It is important that you carefully keep track of all records and documents relevant to the case for your lawyer to have proof of your damages to present to the insurance company. It is important to keep copies of every bill and receipt related to your accident. The cost of your medical treatment—which may include any combination of the cost of the ambulance ride, emergency room, hospital stay, outpatient treatment and recovery, physical therapy, in-home nursing or psychological counseling to deal with the stress from the accident. Other costs to keep track of may include the loss of income from missing work, any loss of business if self-employed, the cost to repair your car if it is not totaled, the expense of renting a car, or even a taxi to and from your doctor’s office.
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, contact Hardy, Wolf & Downing today for an initial free consultation to talk to a lawyer about your situation.