Is It Ever A Good Idea To Accept A Settlement Offer Without Consulting With An Attorney?
Personal injury cases can range from various situations, like dog bites, to automobile crashes, slips and falls, and more. Regardless of the situation or injury itself, there’s always some level of negligence or even malicious intent from the other party. This other party can be an individual, a company, or even a governmental entity.
One reason why victims turn to an attorney’s help is that they’re not receiving a settlement from the other party’s insurance company. However, sometimes a person can receive a settlement offer relatively quickly after filing their personal injury claim, but should they accept it or speak with an attorney first?
When You May Not Need An Attorney’s Assistance
Again, personal injuries can range in size and scope, and anything from a mildly sprained ankle after falling on a retail store’s wet floor to a construction accident that keeps you immobile for months may constitute a personal injury.
In both scenarios, you’re entitled to compensation from the other party, but a mildly sprained ankle may only call for a couple of days of rest or potentially a trip to the ER, while the other injury can call for months of rest alongside surgery, missing work, emotional distress, the inability to walk the same way again, etc.
In other words, whether or not you should pursue legal assistance usually comes down to the extent of your injuries and whether or not the legal process is worth it.
Be Aware of the First Settlement
The other party’s insurance company’s willingness to communicate can also play a role in whether or not you should speak with an attorney. However, you should be cautious about accepting the first settlement offer, especially if you don’t have any legal counsel. Insurance companies know that most civilians don’t know how much they’re entitled to in a personal injury case.
Besides medical expenses, a settlement can cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, travel expenses, and more. Even if a person understands this, they probably won’t have an exact figure in mind. A settlement number can sound attractive at first, but there’s the chance that it won’t cover as much as it should.
What to Do If You Do Receive a Call?
The insurance agent on the other end will likely start out sounding very friendly, and you have no reason to not be polite yourself. However, you also shouldn’t get chatty and talk to the agent for an extended period of time. Insurance agents can employ tactics like pressuring you into accepting a settlement or playing word tricks that force you to admit guilt or change your initial account. Even answering “I’m doing fine” to an innocuous question like, “How are you doing today?” can be used by an insurance adjuster to try to adjust your settlement or throw out your case altogether. Be polite, but firmly make it clear that you don’t feel comfortable discussing any details without your attorney present.
A Memphis personal injury lawyer can help make a huge difference, something our friends at Patterson Bray PLLC agree with.