Frequently, car accident victims and other injury victims are understandably tempted to take this initial settlement offer. Usually, the offer is high enough to pay some immediate expenses.
After a Richmond personal injury attorney evaluates the case from a legal perspective, a victim has a much better idea about the amount of compensation available, as well as the likelihood of obtaining maximum compensation.
Hidden Car Crash Injuries
Even if they are in a hospital bed, many accident victims aren’t fully aware of how badly they are hurt. Head injuries are a good illustration. Accident-related head injuries are difficult to diagnose, sometimes even for doctors.
Furthermore, accident shock and soreness can easily cause symptoms like disorientation and neck pain. So, many victims don’t receive a proper diagnosis until more advanced symptoms like personality changes and severe headaches appear. By that time, only a combination of risky surgery and extended physical therapy can help these victims.
There’s also no way to tell how well injuries will heal. Many people suffer permanent loss of use. For example, a broken ankle might cause a permanent limp. That could mean thousands of dollars in future medical expenses.
An early insurance settlement doesn’t cover such expenses. So, the victim could be financially responsible for them.
Fault vs. Liability
To hopefully seal the deal, many insurance company adjusters point out that the victim was at fault for the accident. The implication is that the victim is ineligible for compensation, so any offer is a generous offer that the victim should jump on.
However, fault for an accident and liability for damages are two separate concepts. “Fault” is a preliminary determination based solely on the facts which are immediately available at the accident scene. “Liability” is a final determination based on all the facts as well as the applicable law.
What If No Settlement Is Reached?
Even a seemingly straightforward claim is very complex from both a medical and legal standpoint. Frequently, the two sides are far apart in terms of things like liability for the accident and the amount of fair compensation. Mediation usually brings the two sides together in situations like these.
If independent settlement negotiations break down, most judges appoint third-party mediators. These professionals meet with both sides and help them find common ground, which usually includes their desire to avoid an expensive and risky trial.
Reach Out for a Free Evaluation
Usually, you’ll want to give it a little bit of time and evaluation before you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors even if they have no insurance or money.