Personal injury claims do not always end up in court. Settlements on claims are commonly agreed upon by parties to avoid going to trial. If you are in a car accident or suffer an injury that entitles you to damages, the other party may approach you with a settlement offer. But how do you respond to a low settlement offer?
While the allure of a quick payout is enticing, understanding how to respond to a low settlement offer protects you from entering a binding agreement that is not in your interests. The complexities of civil litigation can make it hard to know what your claim is worth without consulting an attorney.
How Compensation Works
Personal injury claims can involve actual and non-economic damages. Actual damages involve expenses you incurred because of your injury and can be itemized. One way to prepare for how to respond to a low settlement offer is to review the bills associated with your accident, which gives you an idea of the minimum amount you will need to cover your expenses.
You can receive compensation for lost wages, which is another factor to consider before you respond to a low settlement offer. If an injury prevents you from returning to work or causes you to turn down a promotion, you can pursue compensation for future lost earnings.
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may also claim additional damages for the emotional and future harm you experience.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of affection
With most personal injury claims, there are no caps on economic or non-economic damages.
If you need to respond to a low settlement offer, an attorney can help you review the offer before you answer. It never hurts to get a second opinion, as settlement negotiations are subject to change, and it may be difficult to accurately estimate your claim’s value without legal representation.
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When To File a Claim
You must file a claim within the statute of limitations, as defined under Florida statue § 95.11, which begin to toll the day of your injury. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is:
- Two years for medical malpractice claims
- Three years for claims against state actors and local governments, per Florida statute § 768.28(6)(a)
- Unlimited for certain wrongful death claims
- Four years for most other intentional and unintentional torts
There are some exemptions for filing claims late, but an untimely case can prevent you from recovering damages. If you sustained injuries from a car accident, you are entitled to benefits under personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which has specific time limits on claims that vary depending on your insurance provider’s internal policies.
For serious injuries that prevent you from working, you may have to apply for additional benefits, such as unemployment or disability. Struggling with bills and debt can make it hard to respond to a low settlement offer objectively, as financial instability can increase your chances of accepting a poor offer.
The Value of Your Claim
Having an estimate as to what your injury claim is worth ensures you are prepared to respond to a low settlement offer.
Analyzing your actual expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, provides an idea about the minimum you need to receive to reimburse your costs.
You should also consider things like travel costs to and from doctors’ appointments, as your injuries may prevent you from driving. If you sustained injuries in a car accident, your vehicle may be a total loss, which means you have costs associated with replacing your car or using alternate means of transportation.
The amount of time you miss from work can result in lost wages, which can become excessive if you suffer severe injuries. Personal injury claims help compensate you for medical and emotional pain, with the idea that compensation helps you return your life to the state it was before the accident.
Severity of Injuries
The severity of your injuries and how they impact your daily life are two major considerations when calculating the value of your claim. Future losses, such as a diminished earning capacity or loss of consortium, can also be compensated. If an injury is severe enough to deprive you of the benefits of marriage or parenting or requires a significant change to your daily life, you can receive damages for pain and suffering.
Since non-economic damages have no caps in most lawsuits, they are subjective and dependent on the circumstances of your case. Your personal injury attorney can assist you in determining the valuation on your non-economic damages.
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Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Today
If you sustained injuries from an accident or believe you have cause to file a personal injury claim, working with an attorney ensures you have an advocate for the compensation you deserve. Call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers today at (855) 529-0269 to schedule a free case evaluation or to discuss how to respond to a low settlement offer.
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