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If you’ve been offered a settlement following a slip-and-fall accident, it’s wise to speak to an attorney before accepting. An experienced premises liability lawyer in Houston can make sure you know your rights and only accept compensation that covers the full damages you’re due. Without proper legal guidance, you may find yourself leaving money on the table. Here are five good reasons why you should always speak to an attorney before accepting a slip-and-fall settlement offer.
5 Reasons Not to Accept a Settlement Before Consulting a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer
1. The First Settlement Offer Is Often Intentionally Low
When first communicating with the insurance adjuster after your accident, it’s likely that you’ll receive a lowball settlement offer. Always bear in mind that insurance providers act in the best interests of their business. If they can’t refute a claim altogether, they’ll seek to pay out as little as possible as quickly as possible.
If the insurer sees that you have a valid claim, they’ll almost always put a very low offer on the table in the hope that you’ll accept it before speaking to an attorney. But this initial offer should only be seen as the start of the negotiating process. Even if you feel tempted to accept the first offer, resist and find an attorney, or you may later find your settlement money running out before your medical bills do.
2. A Premises Liability Lawyer in Houston Can Evaluate Your Damages
One of the most important benefits a lawyer provides is their knowledge of the law and of your legal rights. Without a lawyer’s counsel, it’s unlikely that you’ll know the full value of the damages you have a right to claim. Your injuries may require long-term treatment, requiring expert estimates of the total costs over the years to come. And if your injuries have reduced your capacity to work, you may also need assistance to predict the full future damages.
Not only can you claim damages for your medical bills and lost income, but you may also be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages. These damages might include physical pain, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, disfigurement, impairment, disability, and more. Your attorney can accurately calculate all the damages you’re due and fight to ensure you don’t receive a cent less.
3. Slip-and-Fall Lawyers Are Skillful Negotiators
Although the prospect of negotiating with the insurance company may seem rather daunting, it’s almost always part of the claims process. But effective negotiation requires a firm understanding of your rights, strong evidence to support your claim, and a good deal of skill as well. An experienced slip-and-fall attorney knows how to investigate an accident, collect sufficient evidence, and use it to negotiate persistently until a favorable outcome is agreed upon.
Attorneys know all the negotiation tricks that insurers use. They can even argue your case in court to persuade a judge and jury if need be. The high settlement figures that attorneys often achieve for their clients are due to these negotiation skills: skills that you’re likely to lack when acting alone.
4. You Only Have One Chance To Recover Compensation
One critical reason to speak to an attorney before accepting a settlement offer is that you only have one opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. Once you sign on the dotted line and accept a settlement payment, you waive your rights to ever again seek additional compensation from the same defendant for the same accident, even if your injuries later get worse, or you realize you have extra damages you forgot to claim.
If your injuries and other losses are severe, this one settlement payment may be extremely important to your future. You wouldn’t want to end up kicking yourself in the years ahead because you acted too rashly in accepting a settlement before seeking the expert opinion of an attorney. In a brief consultation with a seasoned local lawyer, you can quickly gain clarity on what would and wouldn’t constitute a fair payout for your claim.
5. An Attorney Can Strengthen Your Resolve
Premises liability claims often involve corporate defendants with aggressive insurance providers and strong legal defense teams. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you’ll be facing the legal teams of your own employer (check out this site for some interesting statistics about workplace injuries). It can be intimidating to face these formidable adversaries alone, especially when you’re already weakened by an injury and the stress of mounting financial problems.
In the beginning, any settlement offer may seem like a lifebuoy thrown to a drowning man. With an attorney by your side, you gain moral support and the resolve to stand your ground and demand more. Your attorney may also be able to help alleviate your immediate financial pressure. They could help you gain short-term payouts from your health insurance or Personal Injury Protection, or even negotiate medical care with deferred payment based on a portion of your final settlement.
It can be tempting for slip-and-fall victims to accept the first settlement offer laid on the table. Consulting with an experienced attorney makes it easier to resist these initial lowball offers and begin negotiating to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.