At SSS Law, we recognize that some people are going to settle their claims without a lawyer. For the DIY set, we hope that you will carefully consider the following when trying to settle your case:
1. It is very hard to get a fair settlement, unless you were hurt in a car wreck that the police determined to be someone else’s fault.
However, if the police report lists the other driver as being “at-fault”, you may be able to resolve your injury claim without a lawyer. This information can be found in section E of the police report which states “Human Factors” or in the narrative.
2. The more seriously you are injured, the more value a lawyer brings to your case.
If you have anything other than a soft-tissue (whiplash) injury, you should talk with a lawyer before you try to settle your case.
If you have a “soft-tissue” (whiplash) injury that has lasted for more than six (6) months, you should talk to a doctor to obtain an MRI, and then talk to a lawyer, because you could have a more serious injury.
However, if your injuries are not serious, and you were hurt in a car wreck that the police determined to be someone else’s fault, you should make sure you do these 10 things before you settle:
- Get a copy of the police report
- This can be obtained from www.buycrash.com
- Or, you can drive to the police station to get a copy
- Take photos of your injuries and the vehicles in the collision
- The more serious the damage, the more likely you are to get a fair settlement.
- Treat for your injuries
- Make sure you explain your medical history to each provider
- Don’t lie to your doctor – don’t exaggerate your injuries
- Follow medical advice – if the doctor says jump, you say “how high”. If you “jump” and it hurts, tell the doctor
- Remember – the insurance company thinks that if something didn’t hurt enough to go to the doctor, it doesn’t hurt enough to be a problem.
- Get all your medical records and bills
- In Kentucky, you are entitled to one free copy of your medical record. KRS 422.317
- Don’t lie to the insurance company
- They have a copy of every claim you’ve ever filed, they are just asking you to see if you are telling the truth
- Put all of the above into a demand package
- A demand package explains:
- what your injury is
- what your medical treatment was
- what your medical bills are, and
- what you want to resolve your claim.
- A good demand package has your medical bills and medical records attached.
- A demand package explains:
- Don’t take the first offer
- They almost always have more money
- Make sure the insurance company believes you will get an attorney involved
- If an insurance company thinks you will get a lawyer involved, they will offer you more money. Lawyers increase costs for the insurance company.
- Don’t wait too long
- Certain claims must be filed in court within one (1) year, or you may be forever barred from doing so.
- In fact, the statute of limitations for an injury on a city sidewalk must be presented within ninety (90) days.
- The longer you wait to present your claim, the less likely the insurance company will offer you a fair settlement without a lawyer
- The longer you wait to hire a lawyer, the less likely a lawyer will take your case (don’t make your problem my crisis).
Is there a formula for figuring out how much to ask for?
No. Some people will tell you that you should get three times the medicals. This is not necessarily true.
Each case is different, and anyone who tells you what the case is worth without getting all the information is wrong.
How much will an attorney cost?
Nothing. We take cases on a contingency basis. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
However, we get paid 1/3 of any amounts received from a settlement.
If you have a minor injury car wreck, you may be able to settle your case. If that works for you, it works for us. Otherwise, give us a call. (270) 599 – 0642.