The American Bar Association says there are two key elements in every personal injury claim: liability and damages.
If you’re thinking of pursuing a personal injury settlement, keep those things in mind first. Liability is the responsibility the party you’re suing has. Damages are the amount of injury you’ve suffered.
If both things aren’t present, there’s no case. You can’t sue someone because their perfume gave you a brief headache, for instance.
With that in mind, keep reading for the basics of getting the best personal injury settlement possible.
Be Wary of Lowball Offers
Let’s say you find something weird in your burger at a fast food place. We’re not talking a piece of hair, either. In that case, the restaurant workers would likely apologize and offer you a refund.
No, let’s say you find a finger in your food. That’s much less common.
Any smart restaurant will realize they’ve got a potential public relations disaster in the making. They’ll try to make it go away by offering you a small amount.
That might be a couple hundred dollars. But you don’t have to accept the first offer.
Of course, you can if you feel like $200 is an acceptable amount. If you saw the finger and felt grossed out but OK, it might be.
But if you threw up for the next three days and had to go to the hospital, then $200 is an insulting offer.
Figure out Your Damages
If the initial offer is too low, you’ll need to figure out your actual damages. A personal injury settlement calculator can help you with that.
If you couldn’t work for a few days because of the injury, add that in. Medical bills can also be part of your damages.
Some damages are harder to estimate accurately. We’re talking about things like “pain and suffering.” In general, proving physical injuries is easier than mental ones.
Sure, you may feel like you have PTSD after your injury. But a case that seems strong to you won’t seem as strong to the people you’re negotiating a settlement with.
Consult a Lawyer
Unless your case is very simple, it’s worth talking to a lawyer about your personal injury settlement options.
That’s because there’s a lot that laypeople can’t see. They don’t know about concepts like pre-settlement funding, where you get money before the settlement is official.
A lawyer can also discuss what happens after you receive a settlement. For instance, did you know you can sell structured settlement? Not everyone needs to or wants to, but it’s an option.
Snagging a personal injury settlement should make your life easier. But that’s hard if you’re confused about what’s happening. A personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process.
If you’re worried about paying a lawyer, don’t be. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. That means they get paid when you do.
Negotiating A Personal Injury Settlement
Getting injured can mess up your finances. A personal injury settlement can’t undo the accident, but it can help you get back on your feet from a monetary standpoint.
Personal injury cases are rare. But we’ve got money tips that will also help you navigate more common financial situations. Bookmark our blog to stay informed.