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Know your rights when offered a settlement after an injury

When you are hurt by another person, their child or their dog, one thing you may want to do is pursue a personal injury lawsuit against them for the damages suffered. This kind of civil litigation gives you a chance to get compensation for everything you've been through, so you don't end up footing the bill for your medical care, lost wages and other issues.

There are plenty of things you should know about personal injury settlements, which is why it's generally advised to work with a personal injury attorney. An attorney who is familiar with personal injury cases usually has a good idea about how much your case could be worth and how to help you negotiate for the most money possible.

I was offered a settlement. Should I take it or refuse it?

Settlements are a way for insurance companies (in most cases) to try to mitigate their losses. A settlement could be, in best-case scenarios, fair and make you whole financially. Settlements can also be awful, barely covering your needs or leaving you with additional debts to pay.

Any settlement that you're looking at should cover your losses both now and in the future. A good example is if you're facing $550,000 in medical bills and are only offered $300,000. There's no way that settlement can make you whole. Of course, there are limits to insurance and there may be other factors at play, so it's important for you to make sure your attorney is on board and helping you pursue all possible paths for compensation.

When you receive a settlement offer, remember not to accept it blindly. You need to compare it to your expected expenditures in the future and the debts you've already accrued. This settlement should make it so that you can live comfortably as you focus on your recovery. It should be enough that you don't have to worry about not being able to work and should provide you peace of mind. If a settlement that is offered to you isn't high enough, then you can refuse it.

When you refuse a settlement, your attorney will attempt to negotiate a higher amount with a counteroffer. If that doesn't work, then the next step is to take the case to trial. Most cases do settle outside court, but if the other party or parties involved aren't reasonable, a trial is always an option.

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