Think To The Future As You Evaluate A Personal Injury Settlement Offer
It's important for you to be methodical as you contemplate any settlement offer that you receive in a personal injury case. This is also a time to rely heavily on the expertise of your attorney, who will be able to tell you if the offer is worth taking or if you should decline it and move forward with the case. Don't fall into the trap of only thinking about your life between the injury and the date of the offer — doing so can be shortsighted. Instead, you should think to the future to help determine if the settlement offer is fair. Here are some particular areas to consider.
Future Financial Costs
Perhaps you and your attorney have tabulated that the injury has cost you about $15,000. This amount will partly be lost wages from you not being able to work, and partly the medical expenses that you've incurred after the injury. If your settlement offer is somewhere in this ballpark, it's easy to make the mistake of thinking that it's fair. What you're not considering, however, is the future. How much more work will you miss? How much more will spend on medical care? You'll need to estimate these amounts to thoroughly assess the offer's value.
Future Lost Opportunities
The various opportunities in your life that you've lost because of the injury are also important to consider. You need to remember to think to the future, not just about the opportunities that you've already lost. For example, perhaps you have a vacation planned for two months from now and you don't expect to be able to go because of the injury. If you're unable to get your deposit back, which may be the case depending on how you booked the vacation, it's important to factor in the cost — and emotional suffering — of this lost opportunity.
Future Emotional Distress
Putting a price on the emotional distress that you've faced because of your injury can often be tricky, but this is another area that you shouldn't solely think about what you've been through so far. If your doctor and any other medical professionals who have assessed or treated you have indicated that the recovery time for your injury is long, you'll reasonably be dealing with emotional distress well into the future — and you want to be sure that any settlement offer you get reflects not only your past suffering, but also your future suffering.
For more guidance, reach out to an attorney at offices like Radano & Lide.