Fair Compensation or Lowball Offers? How To Evaluate Settlements in Washington Car Crash Cases

Fair Compensation or Lowball Offers? How To Evaluate Settlements in Washington Car Crash Cases

A car crash that wasn’t your fault, one that left you with injuries and troubles, is never a ride in the park. You’re now faced with medical bills, lost income, and who knows what else. Dealing with a car accident can open up a truckload of worries and different emotions. The at-fault driver’s insurance company has offered you a settlement, but how do you know if it’s fair compensation or a lowball offer?

Evergreen State residents facing the uncertainties of a personal injury settlement can ease their minds by speaking with a Seattle car accident lawyer. They have the savvy and negotiating skills to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your damages.

How To Know if Your Personal Injury Settlement Offer Is Acceptable

Whether you were offered a settlement shortly after the accident or due to hiring a personal injury attorney, don’t be so quick to sign on the dotted line. Victims who didn’t feel the need to hire an attorney can easily become a victim twice, first due to the accident and next by being played by the defendant’s insurance company.

Insurance companies and their legal teams are savvy and sometimes unscrupulous negotiators. Without an experienced legal team of your own to protect you from being vulnerable, they’ll do anything they can to limit their liability. Insurance company negotiators are no strangers to stretching the truth or presenting the victims of their client’s negligence with falsehoods. It’s key to remember that they aren’t working for you and aren’t looking out for your best interests.

It’ll take an experienced personal injury lawyer working on your side to determine if you’re being offered fair compensation or complete garbage. It can be incredibly tempting to simply take what they’re offering you so that you can pay your bills and get on with your life. But this is never the best way to go.

Determining a Personal Injury Case’s Value

Each personal injury case is unique, and each has different circumstances. Victims working without legal guidance sometimes can’t see past the obvious compensation they deserve. Medical bills and other injury-related expenses are typically what they expect, but there are so many other damages that they should be compensated for.

Your legal team can help to evaluate your case and determine what damages you’ve sustained. These will fall into two categories; economic and non-economic. Washington State law allows car crash victims to seek compensation for their damages.

Economic damages can include:

● Medical bills and other injury-related expenses
● The cost of continuing or perceived future medical costs
● Past, current, and future lost wages and benefits
● Any over-the-counter medications
● Medical devices like wheelchairs, splints, and crutches
● Costs for home healthcare aides, nurses, or house cleaning services if the victim needs assistance
● Any expenses incurred to modify a residence to assist with mobility issues caused by the accident

Non-economic damages to consider are:

● Scarring and disfigurement
● Physical pain and suffering
● Emotional trauma
● Loss of enjoyment of life
● Loss of consortium

Factors That Can Affect a Personal Injury Settlement Offer

Each personal injury case is unique and has defining characteristics that can affect settlement amounts. There isn’t an exact science or magic calculation that can give a definitive answer to what is a good settlement. However, several common factors play a significant role in determining whether the offer is acceptable or insulting.

The Severity of the Injuries

Severe injuries such as spinal cord damage, TBIs, disfigurements, and amputations all will typically add value to the expected compensation. Broken bones and other hard tissue damage are more severe than cuts, scrapes, bruises, and soft tissue damage like whiplash.

Treatment and Recovery Timeframe

Injuries that require long recovery times and those that require multiple surgeries will increase the amount of damages for medical expenses and how disruptive they are to the victim’s life. Injuries that result in permanent disabilities will result in higher settlement values.

How Traumatic the Accident Was

Accidents caused by gross negligence, such as a drunk driver or an illegal street race, could potentially increase settlement amounts.

Age and Prior Health of the Victim

Although unfair, the age and health condition of the victim before the accident will be considered by both the plaintiff and the defendant. Settlement amounts are usually higher for someone severely injured early in life versus an advanced senior already in poor health.

Fair or Insulting? Evaluating Personal Injury Settlements in Washington Explained

Ultimately, your personal injury attorney can help determine if your settlement is acceptable. Each case is different and has its nuances, and some will have larger settlement amounts than others. Many times an insurance company will lowball and offer a settlement amount that is significantly lower than it should be. Their job is to limit risk and liability. Your lawyer’s job is to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your damages.

Never attempt to negotiate with an insurance company after an accident. They’re not working for you. Before signing on the dotted line, consult with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney.