Personal injury settlements help accident victims recover financially after someone else is negligent. Settlements aim to compensate a victim for the financial and non-financial losses that they incur due to someone else’s disregard for their wellbeing.
A settlement is when both parties involved in a case come to agreeable terms outside of court. Settlements can happen before you file a formal lawsuit. But often, a lawsuit helps motivate the other party to take your case seriously and come to agreeable terms.
Calculating a fair settlement offer is complicated and requires expertise. That’s why it’s valuable to work with a Virginia personal injury attorney who knows how to estimate things like future medical bills and pain and suffering payments.
Here’s a look at important details you should know about personal injury settlements and how they work.
What to Expect in Personal Injury Settlement Negotiations
Before you enter a personal injury settlement negotiation, you’ll first meet with an attorney. Your attorney will work to gather evidence and prove your case. But your attorney will also provide the following helpful services:
- Communicating with the other person
- Requesting police reports or other case evidence
- Prepping you for discussions so you know what to say and not say
- Learning more about your injuries from your medical providers
- Reviewing work documentation to prove lost income
- Filing required documents for pursuing a lawsuit
Once you’ve put together the necessary documentation, you’ll present this information to the other party to request compensation for your losses.
Although you’ll be naming another person or entity as the other party in the lawsuit, you’ll likely negotiate with their insurance company to seek a favorable settlement. Insurance helps provide individuals, businesses, and municipalities liability protection in case of an accident. That’s why you’ll work with insurance company attorneys and adjustors when negotiating these cases.
During negotiations, you’ll present evidence of your injuries and the costs you’ve incurred as a result. You’ll also explain any future expenses you expect to owe for things like ongoing medical care or an inability or reduced capacity to work.
The insurance company will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. Your attorney will likely recommend that you don’t accept the first offer the company makes. Instead, reaching a fair number will involve some back and forth like any good negotiation generally does.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
What types of personal injury cases might involve a settlement negotiation? Any case where another person’s or entity’s negligence led to damages for you or the death of a loved one could qualify you for a personal injury claim. Some of the most common types include the following:
- Car accidents
- Birth accidents
- Dog bites
- Premises liability claims
- Product liability
- Truck accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Wrongful death
Damages You Might Include in Settlement Requests
When drafting a settlement request, you might include the following areas of financial damages:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Mental health medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in extreme circumstances)
Benefits of Reaching a Settlement
Settlements are preferable to taking your case to court. Reaching a settlement has the following benefits:
- Much faster process than going to court
- Less stress on the victims
- Keeps everything private since court proceedings are public records
- No need to pay court fees
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll win a court case
- You won’t have to keep fronting the money or accruing debt for your medical care
Moving your case along so that you can focus on getting better is the primary benefit that personal injury settlements provide. If you would like a legal team focused on your most pressing needs, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates. We’ll help you determine a fair settlement for your case and guide you throughout the process.