It is not uncommon for insurance companies to offer a settlement shortly after an injury accident. Make no mistake about it, an insurance company is a for-profit business and, to protect their interests, they will try to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. In reality, an insurance company is not looking out for you and will likely offer you a settlement now in an attempt to avoid paying more money later when you have a clearer picture of the financial impact of your injury. Once you accept a settlement, there is no turning back, even if you realize later that your medical expenses are higher than expected or that you are limited in your ability to work. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you – discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer first.
Before you accept any settlement offer, it is important to determine the potential value of your claim. Your personal injury attorney will take into account the total cost of your medical bills, including anticipated future treatments and rehabilitation. They will also consider any type of disability such as chronic pain; whether you will have permanent scarring or disfigurement; lost wages that resulted from the accident; if you will be able to return to work and, if so, in what capacity; total property damage to the vehicles; and other expenses related to the car accident. If your attorney believes that you stand a very good chance of obtaining more compensation than what is being offered by the insurance company, your attorney will more than likely be able to negotiate a better settlement.
How Are Personal Injury Attorneys Compensated?
If you have an injury claim (in addition to a property damage claim), most personal injury lawyers will handle your claim on a contingency basis. This means that if you are awarded compensation, your lawyer will take a percentage as a fee. This type of arrangement is beneficial to the client because, first of all, an attorney must believe they stand a very good chance of getting you more compensation to take your case to begin with, and your attorney collects a fee only when they are successful.
As a starting point, an attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company and enter into negotiations. Often times when an insurance company sees that you have hired an experienced personal injury attorney, they are more inclined to negotiate fairly, resulting in increased compensation. In fact, a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) shows that, on average, payouts are much higher when the injured party retains an attorney when compared to those who tried to negotiate with the insurer themselves. By and large, most claims end in a favorable settlement, however, if you’re unable to reach an agreement, your personal injury attorney can also represent your case in court.
Contact an Experienced Iowa Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured, contact the Iowa Personal Injury Law Offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for assistance. We offer a free initial consultation and case evaluation so that you can make an informed decision regarding legal representation before you accept any insurance company settlement offer. It is in your best interests to talk to an experienced attorney first to determine if you are getting a fair shake. Contact our Des Moines, Iowa personal injury lawyers today at 515-244-1473.