When to Settle a Personal Injury Claim
We caution our clients against making a settlement demand and accepting a settlement offer in connection with a personal injury claim until we know the full extent of their injuries and, hence, their damages. You have only one bite at that apple, and once you settle a claim you will not be able to seek compensation again, even for severe injuries that you were simply not aware of at the time you settled your case.
But we understand that your medical bills may pile up after an injury and that you were probably not making financial plans to cover those bills prior to your injury. You may have even missed work and are getting only a fraction of your normal salary. This puts unwanted pressure on you and your family that may cause you to want to settle your case too early because you need the money. We routinely explore other potential options with our clients so that they can properly diagnose their injuries and receive fair compensation for those injuries.
Once we know the full extent of our client’s injuries, we then usually put together a demand letter, attaching relevant exhibits, which may include medical records and bills, police reports, and ask that the other side pay the client a certain amount money in exchange for releasing our client’s claim against the potential defendant. If we do not feel like the client has been offered enough money to settle the case, we move ahead with the filing of a lawsuit.
Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Claims
Sometimes it takes a lawsuit to get the insurance company to pay real money for our client’s injuries. While an insurance adjuster may not pay real money pre-lawsuit because they are located halfway across the country and know nothing about Kansas or Missouri laws, once a lawsuit is filed and the adjuster hires a lawyer to represent the insured, the lawyer will know more about what the claim is likely worth based on the facts of the case, the injuries, and similar jury verdicts from the particular jurisdiction. We then proceed with discovery and uncover all relevant evidence. Once all evidence has been gathered and all witnesses have been deposed, we will then have a good idea of what we believe the case to be worth. The other side, however, may disagree and offer way less than what we believe the case is worth. If that is the case and a reasonable settlement offer is not made, we will then proceed to trial.
Contact an Experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer
We treat every case like it is going to trial because that is the best way to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement. We also tell our clients a fair settlement is one that both sides do not like. The defendants paid you more than they think the case is worth but you got less than you believed you were entitled to have. We do our best to maximize our client’s potential settlement. A settlement should only be reached once you understand the complete extent of your damages and the defendant’s defenses that they will argue at trial. Then you can make a solid determination of what your case is worth and settle your claim. You only have one shot to settle your case so you better make it a good one. Clients always have the right to decide to settle their case or move forward. We ask, however, that they listen to us about when the perfect time would be to settle their case if that is what they want to do, knowing we may be leaving money on the table.