Personal Injury Settlement Primer
Injuries from motor vehicle accident can change your life. It is easy to understand how a fast settlement with the insurance company may seem like the quickest way to getting back what you had before the injury.
Be careful. Settling your case by yourself or at the wrong time may hurt you more in the end. At our Law Office, we have the knowledge and experience needed to properly evaluate the value of serious motor vehicle injury cases. We know the law and we know the insurance companies’ tactics. We know the difference between a settlement offer that leaves you unprotected and one that brings you a fair value for the injuries you have suffered and the changes a serious accident can cause in your life.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SETTLING A MOTOR VEHICLE INJURY CLAIM?
Statute of Limitations
The first thing you should understand about your injury claim is that in California you have a set period of time in which to make your claim. This set period of time is known as the statute of limitations. There are many factors that can affect your statute of limitations including your age at the time of the accident, the type of claim or claims you are making, and the person or company against which you are claiming. Determining which statutes apply to your claim is imperative. If you fail to file your claim within the appropriate period, you may be forever barred from bringing your claim. The fact that you were negotiating with one or more of the potential defendants in your case at the time your statute of limitations ran will not save your claim. When you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is always the best course to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are preserved.
Liability is the second issue. When we speak of liability we are really talking about who is going to take to fess up and who is taking responsibility for the accident that injured you. Before one starts to discuss a settlement with any of the parties involved, you need to find any and all of the groups and individuals that might bear some responsibility for the accident and your injuries. You many think you know who caused your accident. However, you may only know part of the story.
You could have a claim against a manufacturer for products liability if there was a defect in one of the vehicles in the accident. If the driver at fault was intoxicated, you could have a claim against the establishment that served him or her. If the road was in poor condition or without appropriate signage, you might have a claim against the State of California. Without a thorough investigation of your claim, you might not identify all of the parties at fault.
A major part is to find and include all the parties that might bear responsibility. If you don’t include them and you settle with just one defendant may work against you. Because you could release all of the other possible defendants. An attorney experienced in handling motor vehicle accidents can help you identify the parties responsible for your injuries.
As soon as you have found all the parties who might have some responsibility for your injuries, you should put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering. Not quite a simple as it first sounds, adding time lost from work, medical expenses-keep all bills-and any and all expenses incurred. Texas has specifically identified damages that are allowed in cases of personal injury. Generally, these damages should include any and all past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, past and future emotional distress and embarrassment, past and future loss of consortium, as well as past and future expenses associated with the injury such as having to hire work done that you can no longer do due to your injury. Don’t be suprised to having to proof these statements.
An attorney experienced in handling injury claims can assist you in determining all of the damages arising out of your injury. Where necessary, your attorney can secure testimony or other proof from medical providers and economists to demonstrate the extent of your loss. Once you have agreed on a settlement, it is considered to be final in all the aspects of the case. Once settelt a Court might not make any changes, unless you can proof that fraud was committed. If your injury is very extensive or your injury is such that full extent of your injury is not yet ascertainable you may be asked to consider a structured settlement, a partial settlement with a reservation of rights, or both. You will need the help of an experienced attorney to determine whether such offers are appropriate for your situation.
You will need an experienced attorney to determine whether there are any potential subrogation claims in your case, what notices need to be sent to those holding subrogation interests, and how to best settle your case given the subrogation interests in your case.
Settling an injury claim can be more complicated than it might appear at first. The individual or companies you are trying to get compensation from will likely have experienced attorneys helping them during the negotiations. Because your settlement will likely be a full, final and complete settlement of your claim, you need to ensure that the settlement you make is appropriate. Enlisting the assistance of an experienced attorney is the best way to make sure that the settlement you receive provides just compensation for the injuries you have suffered. At our Law Firm we know the law and we have the experience to make sure the settlement you achieve protects your rights.