If you’ve recently been injured as a result of the negligence of another person or entity, you may be wondering what your legal recourse is.
If you have accrued any costs as a result of your accident, whether it be medical bills or expenses related to lost wages, then you should file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company. This is the first step in seeking financial compensation for the costs related to your accident. Have questions about this process? Below are the answers to some of the more common questions we receive about personal injury settlements.
What if I Already Received a Settlement Offer?
It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to submit a settlement offer early in the game in an attempt to avoid going through the complex legal process. More than likely, if you have already received a settlement offer, it will be a low-ball offer that the insurance company hopes you’ll take so they can avoid paying you more. Rarely is it a good idea to accept the first settlement offer you receive, especially if you haven’t spoken with an experienced attorney.
Where Does Settlement Money Come From?
Usually, the money you receive in settlement will come from the responsible party’s insurance company. For example, if you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a local business, it is likely that their business liability insurance will kick in and pay for your compensation. However, in situations where a responsible individual was uninsured or under-insured, you may end up collecting your settlement money directly from them.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Settlement?
There are many reasons to have a lawyer on your side when seeking a settlement for a personal injury claim. For starters, an experienced lawyer will be able to assess the specifics of your case and determine what would be a fair amount of compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses incurred. Furthermore, a personal injury lawyer will be familiar with the complex settlement process and will be able to walk you through it with confidence, protecting your rights and representing your best interests throughout.
What Can Be Included in My Claim?
Pretty much any expense related to your accident/injury can be included in your personal injury settlement claim. This, of course, includes any medical bills you may have incurred as a result of your accident, as well as any wages lost because you were unable to work. If you were not able to care for your child and had to hire a childcare provider during your accident recovery, this can also be included in your claim. In some cases, emotional pain and suffering or other damages can be included.
How Long Will the Settlement Process Take?
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to this question because every case is unique. However, the settlement process can be very long and drawn-out because of all the complex components involved. It is also not uncommon for there to be a lot of “back-and-forth” in the form of offers and counter-offers with the insurance company before an agreed-upon settlement is reached. Therefore, it can take months or even years before a settlement is officially reached and funds are disbursed.
Will I Have to Pay Taxes on My Settlement?
Generally, settlement payments are considered non-taxable income by the IRS. However, there are some exceptions to this, so you’ll want to consult with a tax professional once your settlement is reached so you can make sure you pay any required taxes on your income and avoid potential fees or penalties come tax time.
Will I Receive a Lump Sum or Scheduled Payments?
This can vary from one case to the next, so it will ultimately depend on the terms that were reached in your settlement. Structured settlements are very common, and these involve disbursing payments to you on a monthly basis or other scheduled basis rather than paying out the entire lump sum at once.
What is a Contingency Fee?
This is the fee that your lawyer will collect once a successful settlement is reached. Generally, this fee constitutes a certain percentage of your total compensation; it should be disclosed to you before you sign any paperwork to retain the lawyer. Any reputable lawyer will make you aware of these fees at your first consultation or case evaluation.
If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer who will defend your rights and best interests throughout the settlement process, Mann Law Firm is here for you. You can schedule your case evaluation today by giving us a call at (478) 742-3381.