What Do You Do with an Unsolicited Injury Settlement Offer?
The normal process for reaching a settlement usually involves a claimant working with a personal injury attorney to get things rolling. Nothing in personal injury law, however, prevents the other side from coming forward first with a settlement offer. When this happens, folks can feel intimidated. If you've been approached with an unsolicited settlement offer, what should you do?
1. Lawyer Up
Although it's possible you've already retained counsel, and unsolicited offer may arrive before you've had a chance. Contact lawyers in your area and figure out who ought to represent you.
2. Refuse to Agree to Anything
Even if the offer sounds like the most pie in the sky thing you could imagine, don't jump at it. Tell the party making the offer to send you a printed explanation of what's on the table. If they try to pressure you to accept the settlement, just inform them you'll need some time to talk it over with a personal injury attorney. No claims adjuster worth their salt is going to tell you to speak without counsel. They'll send you the necessary paperwork and await your response.
3. Sum Up Your Medical Bills
If a settlement offer is on the table, there's a good chance the other side is afraid the case could get expensive. On your end, the biggest fear should be that the offer is going to come in too low to pay your medical bills and other expenses.
Your attorney will contact your medical services providers to get your bills. Likewise, you'll need to take a close look at any expected long-term care expenses. This might include medical devices, drugs, rehabilitative care, and even in-home nursing. Forward-facing expenses can be hard to tally, and that's why you need to take a pessimistic view of what it's going to cost you to maintain a reasonable level of care for the foreseeable future.
4. Make Sure the Paperwork Is Correct
In personal injury law, everything is about the process. Especially if you're getting close to the statutory limit for filing a claim, usually between two and three years after an incident, you'll want to make sure you've filed all of the appropriate paperwork. In particular, you'll need to file a notice of intent to seek compensation.
This might seem odd, given the defending side has made an offer. However, you don't want your case to end up in legal limbo if the offer is withdrawn. Sending a notice to the defense will ensure you've met a big legal requirement in case you need to still file.
Learn more about the process by contacting a personal injury attorney.