Why You Should Never Accept the First Offer
For the average family, suffering a serious injury in a car crash, slip-and-fall, or even a farm accident can be absolutely devastating. On top of worrying about paying rent and putting food on the table, you now have to contend with expensive medical bills and a long recovery period. That is why, when an insurance adjuster calls you with a settlement offer, you may jump at the chance to take it. But we are here to tell you that is a mistake.
How Insurance Companies Calculate “Fair” Settlement Offers
As much as we rely on insurance companies when we are injured, it is important to understand that these are businesses, and their main focus is making money. They do this in two ways: first, they collect insurance premiums from their customers, and second, when someone files a claim, they devalue or deny that claim to avoid losing money. At the end of the day, they want to pay you as little as possible when you are injured.
But what does it mean when an insurance company devalues a claim? Well, they start by calculating what is considered an acceptable loss for the company. This is often cheaper than the actual value of the claim (and far less expensive than a lawsuit). If you take an insurance company to court and they lose the trial, they could be forced to pay not only the full value of your claim but also legal fees. Insurance companies prefer to avoid lawsuits altogether, which is why they will do everything they can to convince you to accept a small settlement offer.
When you are worrying about medical bills, taking time off work to heal, and paying your mortgage, quick cash seems like a blessing. However, most injuries have long-term costs beyond an emergency room bill. You may need surgery down the line, physical therapy, medication, and other treatments to fully heal. If you accept a settlement offer before you are fully healed, or at least on the right path to recovery, you could be left in a difficult financial situation.
Sadly, insurance adjusters rarely listen to claimants on their own. They prefer to use your lack of legal knowledge against you. However, if you enter into negotiations with a skilled attorney at your side, you may be able to receive full compensation for your injuries.
What Is the Real Value of Your Claim?
If you were injured due to someone else’s act of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, then you may be able to receive compensation from their liability insurance. When calculating the value of your claim, it is important to keep in mind the total costs of your injuries. For most people, this simply means their medical bills, but the truth is, you can receive much more in a claim.
In the state of Nebraska, plaintiffs are allowed to demand both economic and noneconomic damages in a personal injury claim. Economic damages are designed to cover all of the financial costs of your injuries. This can start with your medical bills and long-term treatment, such as therapy and mediation, but can also include time away from work. For example, if you had to take time off to rest and recover from your injuries, you could include the wages you would have earned in your claim. You can also include wages that you missed while attending medical appointments or if you were forced to reduce your work hours due to a disability, pain, or discomfort.
In addition to these economic costs, you can include the noneconomic costs, or personal costs, of an injury. This covers all of the physical pain you have gone through, mental anguish, and even a decreased quality of life. These costs are harder to calculate, but an experienced lawyer can work with you to determine a number that satisfies you.
Together, your personal injury claim can include:
- All medical expenses, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyments
What Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Can Do for You
Going into insurance negotiations on your own can be a serious mistake. Insurance companies are well-versed in devaluing or denying claims and minimizing their losses. They will use their resources to build a case against you and minimize the amount of money they pay you. This is where an attorney can benefit you.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., our lead Omaha personal injury attorney has years of experience dealing with insurance companies and representing plaintiffs after catastrophic injuries. Our team can:
- Calculate the full costs of your injuries
- Review all available insurance policies, including your own
- Collect evidence of negligence
- Connect you with trained medical professionals who can provide quality treatment
- Handle all communication with the insurance adjuster
- Negotiate for full compensation for your injuries
- Represent you in a personal injury trial, if necessary
You may be worried about working with a lawyer because of legal fees. However, at Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we only get paid if we win your claim. We also offer potential clients free consultations, so there is no cost to sitting down and talking with us. At the end of the day, our focus is on getting you the compensation you need to heal comfortably.
If you or someone you love was injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to discuss your legal options.
Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.