After you file a premises liability claim for an injury on someone else’s property, the insurance company might contact you and offer you a cash settlement. While this lump sum of money might be tempting, you should not accept an upfront cash settlement from the insurance company adjuster. You should talk to a premises liability lawyer first so you understand the full value of your claim.
Insurance companies care most about their bottom line: saving money. Even if they sound concerned or helpful on the phone, they don’t have your best interests in mind. Accepting a settlement too soon can prevent you from getting the full compensation you need to cover all of the costs of your injuries.
Factors That Determine the Value of a Premises Liability Settlement
Before filing your claim or accepting anything from the insurance company, you and your lawyer will need to put a value on your case. You’ll need to account for all damages (past, current, and future) resulting from your injuries on the negligent party’s property. You’ll also need to sufficiently demonstrate the property owner was liable in your accident.
The following factors and personal injury damages play a role in how much your settlement is worth—and how much the insurance company should offer before you consider accepting it:
- Your total medical costs, including doctor co-pays, hospital bills, tests, prescription medications, surgeries, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages from missed work time and other income you might have missed, such as bonuses or promotions
- Pain and suffering damages, including loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, or anxiety
- Permanent disabilities that impact your quality of life and ability to work as you did before
Your premises liability lawyer will take each of these factors into account when calculating your damages. Once this has happened, you’ll be able to see just how much your claim is worth. Chances are, the insurance company’s first offer will be a complete lowball compared to what you actually need to recover your costs.
Four Things to Consider Before Accepting a Premises Liability Settlement
Before accepting any settlement from the insurance adjuster in your premises liability case, you should also keep the following points in mind.
1. You Can Negotiate for a Fair Settlement
The insurance company might make you feel as if the first offer is your only chance at compensation. This is far from the truth. In fact, negotiation is a regular part of a premises liability case.
It’s best to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer very soon after your accident happens because they will know how to handle a lowball cash settlement offer from the insurance adjuster. (Plus, most premises liability lawyers—like John Foy & Associates—do not require payment unless they win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation to discuss the details.)
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company adjuster to get you the fairest settlement possible for your personal injury damages. This can often work in your favor since insurance companies want to spend as little time as possible on premises liability claims. When you have a good lawyer helping you, it shows the insurance company you’re serious about waiting them out and fighting for the money you deserve.
2. You Should Complete All Medical Treatment Before Filing
If possible, you should never accept a settlement until after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) with your accident injuries. MMI is the point at which you’ve recovered as much as you can through treatment.
When you reach MMI, your doctor will evaluate you for a permanent disability. You also won’t know the full, accurate cost of your medical treatment until after you’ve reached MMI. If you will need ongoing treatment long-term, your doctor can give you a good idea of what that will look like and cost. Your costs can easily be more than you expected because:
- The treatment was more extensive than you thought.
- There were complications.
- Your wounds took longer to heal than expected.
- There were secondary infections or other issues.
- Your injuries are going to impact your ability to work or live as you did before.
These are expenses you’ll also want to include in your claim.
Medical costs typically make up the largest portion of a premises liability claims. Even seemingly simple injuries can incur thousands of dollars in medical bills. You won’t want to leave these out of your claim for compensation.
3. Once You Agree to a Settlement, It’s Binding
Although you have a lot of power to negotiate, once you agree to a settlement, your case will close. At that point, the insurance company will not be responsible for additional expenses you have related to the premises liability accident and your injuries. You will not be able to seek more compensation or pursue additional legal action in this case.
As you can see, it’s vital that you are absolutely sure a settlement is fair before agreeing to accept it from the insurance company. This requires the expertise of a premises liability lawyer who can calculate your full damages and fight for your legal rights.
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of your injury to bring your case (Georgia Code § 9-3-33), so don’t wait to contact an experienced lawyer who can help you get started.
4. You’ll Need to Consider ALL Current and Future Expenses
Medical costs, lost wages, and property damage are all common damages claimed in premises liability cases. However, you probably have more costs than you realize—and they may have consequences not only now, but into the future.
Additional costs may include:
- Mental health treatment
- Future lost earnings
- Transportation to and from doctor appointments
- Medical equipment
- Pain and suffering damages
- And more
An injury accident can impact your entire life. Your premises liability lawyer will know how to consider every area that the accident may affect you, now and in the future. They will work to include these losses in your settlement.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
Before accepting anything from the insurance company adjuster after an injury on someone else’s property, contact John Foy & Associates. We’ll give you a FREE consultation to talk about what happened and the options available to you. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of your vulnerable and stressed state.
Over the past 20 plus years, we’ve helped countless injury victims win the compensation they need. Let us help you, too, starting with a FREE consultation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started today.