If you have been the victim of an accident, it is very likely that at some point you may receive a settlement offer from an insurance company. Many victims assume that these companies are fair and above-board, so they accept these offers without hesitation. It is only later that they realize that the offer was far too small to meet their medical needs, much less to pay for lost wages, damages to property, and other real expenses, not to mention intangibles such as pain and suffering.
Before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, it is wise to ask five important questions.
- Will this amount cover my quantifiable expenses? Is this amount going to be enough to pay your medical bills, reimburse your lost wages, and fix your vehicle or other property involved in your accident? In many cases, the answer is no. You must be sure to include costs associated with travel, the loss of use of property such as a vehicle, rental fees, and other “hidden expenses” associated with your accident. You should also include future medical costs, as well as you are able to predict them.
- What about my unquantifiable expenses? There are many expenses or costs associated with an accident that may not be easily counted. For example, will your missed days at work impact your overall performance rating? Will you be passed over for a lucrative promotion due to your missing days? What about the quality of life you live with your family? A good settlement offer should include added amounts for these types of expenses.
- Will I have ongoing future expenses or changes in my lifestyle? In many cases, you may find that your future expenses are far more than you imagine. Loss of mobility, lifestyle changes, and future curtailment of your enjoyment of hobbies, for example, may continue for many years or for your lifetime.
- What about pain and suffering? While it is not easy to put a price tag on pain and suffering, you deserve to be compensated for these things. A good settlement agreement acknowledges what you have been through and makes an attempt to compensate you for it.
- Am I getting all that my case is worth? It is very difficult for a person without experience in personal injury settlements to fairly evaluate a case. Often, money is left on the table due to the lack of knowledge on the victim’s part. It would be terrible to be owed more than you are offered and never realize it!\
At Barber & Associates, we have been helping the victims of Alaska personal injury cases for many years. Our attorneys are experienced in evaluating settlement offers and can guide you through this perplexing process. We work tirelessly to give our clients the service they deserve and to protect their rights throughout the settlement process. Give us a call today to speak to one of our knowledgeable attorneys and learn how much your case is really worth!