What You Need to Know About Verbal Settlement Agreements For Injury Claims

man making phone call from couchTalking to the insurance company after a Minnesota car crash is dangerous because you may be tempted to accept a settlement.

Insurance companies may make a property damage offer and add a few hundred for the rest. You might verbally agree because you are desperate for compensation and do not know how much your case may be worth. You might not know property claims cannot be bound to injury claims as “take it or leave it” offers.

Backing out of a verbal settlement agreement can be complicated. You should discuss the situation with an experienced attorney before signing anything. A lawyer may still be able to negotiate for more compensation.

Call the Minneapolis-based auto accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law for a free legal consultation.

No upfront fees or legal obligations. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

What is a Settlement Agreement in a Personal Injury Case?

Settlements are legally enforceable contracts signed by two or more parties to resolve a dispute. A car crash settlement is typically a written agreement between the victim of a car crash and an insurance company. The settlement ends the victim’s claim against the insurance company in exchange for compensation for damages.

The settlement also includes a section releasing the insurance company from any future liability for damages from the crash. Once the agreement is signed and compensation is paid out, the victim is barred from seeking any more compensation from the insurance company for the crash.

How are Settlement Agreements Reached?

Sometimes the victim of a Minnesota car crash files a claim on his or her own and reaches a settlement with the insurance company. Some crash victims hire an attorney and he or she negotiates a settlement with the insurance company.

When working with an attorney, he or she begins the process by investigating the crash and the victim’s damages and then drafts a demand letter requesting a certain amount of compensation. The demand letter explains why the victim should receive compensation and includes evidence to back up the argument. The insurance company typically rejects the attorney’s first offer, which starts the negotiation process. Both sides are likely to go back and forth until they reach an agreement.

Can You Verbally Agree to a Settlement?

Accident victims could verbally accept a settlement offer in a phone conversation with the insurance company or in person at the company’s office.

Verbal agreements can be difficult to enforce, so you may be able to rescind your acceptance in writing. The agreement might not be legally binding until you sign it.

How Should I Respond to a Settlement Offer?

When you think about when to accept a settlement offer, remember that you do not have to say “yes” or “no” right away. You should not be making decisions on the insurance company’s timeline, no matter how hard the adjuster pushes you for an answer. You need to do what is in your best interest.

You can tell the adjuster that you need time to consider the offer. You can also tell the adjuster you plan to discuss the offer with your lawyer.

It is perfectly OK to have second thoughts or feel apprehensive about accepting a quick settlement offer. The insurance company is only trying to scare you when they say you will not get any compensation if you reject their first offer. This is an intimidation tactic. They are just trying to mislead you.

Why You Might Have Second Thoughts About an Insurance Settlement Agreement

Initial settlement offers are often inadequate because it is not in the insurance company’s best interests to offer full compensation.  Their profit margin is enhanced every time they can quickly settle for $1,000. when a case is truly worth $10,000 or more.

It is also difficult to assess the value of a claim so early in the process. Victims need to finish their treatment, and doctors need to see if your injury will have any long-term effects. It is only at that point that doctors can determine if you need ongoing treatment or if your injuries will impact your ability to work or live the rest of your life pain free.

If doctors and your attorney need time to determine the value of your case, there is no way the insurance company can know what it may be worth.

Your lawyer needs time to assess your damages, which may include:

  • Emergency transport from the scene of the crash
  • Hospitalization
  • Medical testing right after the crash and during your treatment
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medication
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more

Can a Verbal Settlement Offer be Rescinded?

This is a complex question and multiple factors need to be considered to answer it.

For example, did you agree to the insurance company recording your phone conversation? If so, and you said you agreed to a settlement offer, it will be more difficult to undue the contract. Text messages or emails could also be used against you if you try to rescind your acceptance of the insurance settlement agreement.

However, verbal settlement agreements may have a hard time holding up in court. One of the issues that may need to be decided in court is whether you verbally agreed with the intent to stick to the agreement. If there is proof of this, including proof you later changed your mind, the insurance company’s position may be favored.

Was the agreement for property damage and got expanded to all matter? The greater the overreach, the easier it is to cancel the agreement.

It is very important that you do not sign anything until discussing it with a lawyer. While the insurance company is focused on paying out the smallest settlement, an experienced attorney should be focused on obtaining maximum compensation.

Making Insurance Companies Wait

You may be concerned about making the insurance company wait. However, insurance companies often try to convince crash victims they need to accept the first offer because there will not be another one. This is often not the case, particularly when you have an attorney advocating for you.

Insurance companies often argue “why hire an attorney? They will simply take half of your settlement.” This is not true. Some services like property damage and medical bills paid by no fault are done without a charge.

In addition, well known statistics show people with an attorney often get three times the settlement as those without representation. So even after paying a fee, people with attorneys come out ahead and have the comfort of knowing the settlement was done legally correct.

You have the right to discuss a settlement offer with an attorney before agreeing to it. If you already gave verbal acceptance, you may need to formally rescind your acceptance offer. This is something an attorney should be able to assist you with. You should call a lawyer right away, because, if you delay, the insurance company may use this against you.

What Happens if You Sign a Settlement Offer?

Once you sign a settlement offer, it is very unlikely you will be able to back out of it. Settlement offers usually contain clauses releasing insurance companies from any future liability for the accident in question.

That is why you need to be certain the settlement offer provides all the compensation you will need. The best way to do that is to talk to an experienced lawyer about it. The lawyers at TSR Injury Law are focused on your best interest and will fight to recover maximum compensation.

What if My Injury Gets Worse Later?

Your injury could worsen after you sign the settlement agreement and you have received all your compensation. However, you cannot pursue more compensation at this point.

You need to make sure the settlement provides compensation for any medical expenses and other damages you may accrue in the future. You also need to account for worsening of your injury. This is something your lawyer can evaluate by reviewing medical records, talking to doctors and possibly medical and economic experts.

Was the Agreement Reached in Good Faith?

Unless you can prove the insurance company committed fraud, coerced you into settling or you can prove a lack of mental capability to understand the contract, it is unlikely you would be able to seek more compensation. In other words, the settlement may be unenforceable if it was entered into in bad faith.

That said, it is very difficult to prove a settlement was not agreed to in good faith.

Need Help After a Car Crash? Set Up a Free Consultation Today

Car crash claims are often worth more than the insurance company says they are. Their goal is to pay out the least possible amount to protect their bottom line.

That is why it is important to meet with a licensed attorney to discuss your claim. TSR Injury Law has obtained over $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our clients. Your initial consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees while we work on your case.

Call Today for Legal Assistance. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.

Will Your Injury Claim Be Worth More if You Need Surgery?

female doctor putting on maskSurgeries can be very expensive, particularly if you need to stay at the hospital while you recover. However, it is not always true that getting surgery will increase the value of your settlement.

Although a surgery after a crash usually does make the “value” of a claim greater, injury victims should not get unnecessary surgery simply to increase the value of their claims. In fact, unnecessary surgery may not be covered by your claim. There is no amount of money that will make an unnecessary surgery worth it in a settlement.

If you have questions about the value of your claim, give TSR Injury Law a call today to see how we may be able to assist you. An initial consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your case.

Our attorneys have secured hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients in a wide variety of cases.

Call today for legal assistance. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.

Surgery and Your Injury Claim

Surgery often drives up the value of a personal injury claim. If you have ever had surgery and been billed for it or looked at the amount of money your insurance company paid for a surgery you underwent, it is easy to see why.  Insurance companies owe the cost of medical bills as part of the injury settlement.  In addition, surgeries are not fun, and neither is the recovery. Pain and suffering claims are greater because of a person’s surgery as part of a claim.

The total cost of a surgery has many components. The surgeon is not the only one who gets paid. There will be an anesthesiologist or other specialists involved in the procedure. They may not have been performing the actual surgery but assisting the surgeon to secure the best outcome. A simple example is the doctor observing your vital signs or reactions to medications you were given.

Doctors often need to use expensive equipment and supplies during the surgery. Hospitals often spend what seem to be unreasonable amounts of money on items that would cost much less if you bought them in a store.

These factors and others help drive up the cost of surgery, in addition to hospital stays that may come before or after the procedure itself.

However, there are many other factors that may impact the value of your claim. For example, some people respond better to treatment than others. Some people may recover very quickly while others may need significantly more time.

While you may have the same type of injury as someone else, it is unlikely that it is exactly the same. There are likely to be minor differences that could significantly impact your recovery and treatment options.

Is Surgery Necessary?

You should not get surgery simply because you think it will allow your lawyer to recover more compensation.

No matter how skilled a surgeon may be, every surgery carries risks. You could get an infection and need more surgery to deal with it. The surgeon could cause damage to the area surrounding the surgical site. You could have a bad reaction to the anesthesia. There is also even a risk of death.

If the insurance company believes the surgery was unnecessary, they may deny compensation for it. They are not going to take you at your word the surgery was necessary. They will want to see medical records showing the doctor thought it was a good idea.

Doctors often give patients a choice between surgery and other treatments. Your doctor may lay out both options and explain the pros and cons and leave it to you to decide.

You should carefully review things with your doctor and discuss the risks of surgery with your family. Your decision should be based on what you think is best for your health, not what it may do for the value of your claim. If you decline surgery but need other less invasive treatment, those bills are also included in your claim.

Your goal should be to recover compensation for the treatment you need to make the best recovery possible. That is why it is important to find an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success. You need to be able to trust your lawyer is looking out for your best interests and is pursuing maximum compensation.

Injuries That May Need Surgery

There are various injuries that may result in surgery, such as:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Severe burns
  • Ligament tears
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Torn tendons
  • Knee injuries

Sometimes surgery is done right after the accident to try to save the victim’s life. Clearly, those types are always related to the originating cause, such as a car crash.  Other times surgery may be needed later after conservative measures have failed.  As a general rule, the longer after the crash or injury causing event, the harder it is to prove it is related to the event.

Contact TSR Today to See How We Can Assist You

After an injury, it is important to get solid legal advice about your options, the value of your claim and other issues that often arise. You cannot count on the insurance company to take care of you, which is why you should give serious thought to calling a licensed Bloomington personal injury lawyer.

The attorneys at TSR Injury Law have been helping injury victims since 1998 and have obtained over $1 billion in compensation for our clients.

TSR Injury Law. No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

How Crash Damage May Be Used as Evidence of Speeding

black speedometer in carDo you think the driver who caused your crash was speeding?

Proving the other driver was speeding may be difficult without the help of an experienced attorney who has taken on these cases before. You need a lawyer who knows how to obtain evidence of speeding. For example, it may be possible to prove speeding by citing damage to both vehicles.

Victims of speeding-related crashes should consider seeking experienced legal help. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of car crash victims. We have been assisting injury victims in Minnesota for more than 20 years.

What Vehicle Damage May Say About the Cause of the Crash

Rear-end crashes result in damage to the lead car’s bumper and damage to the rear car’s front end. Depending on the speed of the crash, there could also be damage to the engine block, radiator, or other things under the hood. The faster the rear car is traveling, the more likely it is to sustain significant damage from the crash.

Rear-ending another car at high speed may indicate distracted driving, as a driver who was paying attention may have been more likely to slow down sooner and avoid a crash or not hit the lead car as hard. However, it could also indicate speeding, as a car traveling at a slower speed may have been more likely to stop and avoid a collision.

This is just one example of how vehicle damage may indicate whether the at-fault driver was speeding. The collision rating for your vehicle may also indicate how fast the other vehicle was traveling when the collision occurred.

Vehicle manufacturers have collision ratings for all their vehicles. Collision ratings describe the amount of damage done based on the speed of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. When your car is taken to a repair shop to assess the value of damage, the shop will look at the damage done and link that to the appropriate collision rating. This may indicate if the other driver was traveling over the speed limit.

Your attorney may want to bring in an accident reconstruction expert, and this person may refer to vehicle damage to describe the cause of the crash. For example, if the speed limit where the crash occurred was only 25 or 35 miles per hour, and your vehicle sustained catastrophic damage, this may serve as proof the other driver was speeding.

Other Evidence to Build a Case for Speeding

Fortunately, vehicle damage is not the only form of evidence that may help your lawyer prove speeding. Other physical evidence from the scene may indicate speeding.

For example, skid marks may indicate the speed of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. Cars that were speeding are likely going to leave longer skid marks compared to cars that were not speeding. Cars that are speeding also take longer and need more room to stop compared to cars that are not speeding.

Road debris may also be indicative of speeding. The faster vehicles are traveling, the farther debris may get flung from the point where the two vehicles collided. If possible, take pictures of debris created by the crash. If you can, get pictures from many different angles, as this can better help your attorney assess the speed of the vehicles involved in the collision.

Other types of evidence that may help prove another driver was speeding includes:

  • Police reports – The police report should list traffic citations issued for the crash. The officer may also give his or her opinion as to who caused the crash and why.
  • Witness statements ­– Witnesses in other cars or pedestrians may have seen the crash. While they cannot know how fast the vehicles were traveling, he or she may be able to tell if one car looked like it was speeding. For example, if a car was weaving in and out of traffic, the driver was likely speeding.
  • Camera footage – Dashcam footage or security camera footage may be available. Your attorney may be able to use the footage to prove the other driver was speeding.                          

Call TSR Injury Law Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Speeding continues to be one of the leading causes of car crashes, and many of these crashes result in serious injuries or fatalities. Victims and their loved ones should seek experienced legal representation, as those who hire lawyers often recover more in compensation compared to those who do not.

The initial consultation with one of our experienced Minneapolis auto accident lawyers is free of charge and there is no obligation to take legal action after this meeting.

TSR Injury Law. Millions Recovered. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

How Motorcycle Bias Might Affect Your Claim for Compensation

motorcycle rider in the summertimeAs it warms up outside, motorcyclists are more likely to hit the road to take advantage of the summer weather. Before you get out on the open road, it is important to remember to take appropriate safety precautions. A crash could result in severe, life-altering injuries, and recovering compensation could be challenging because of motorcycle bias.

Even if you have never been in a crash, you may have experienced some of the preconceived notions about motorcycle riders, such as the assumption that most riders engage in reckless behavior and have little concern for their safety or the safety of others on the road.

Our experienced Minneapolis motorcycle accident lawyers discuss motorcycle bias and how it may impact a compensation claim for crash-related damages.

Motorcycle crash victims should strongly consider seeking legal counsel, as victims represented by attorneys often receive more compensation than those who do not have a lawyer. At TSR, there are no upfront fees, and the initial consultation is free.

What is Motorcycle Bias?

There is no official definition of motorcycle bias. The term was created to describe the types of biases people often hold about motorcycle riders. You could also refer to these biases as stereotypes.

People who are biased against motorcyclists may assume riders are to blame for a crash, even if they did nothing wrong. Perceptions like these are often not based on statistics, but personal experiences. For example, maybe someone once saw a motorcycle rider popping wheelies on the interstate, and this has contributed to his or her perception of motorcycle riders.

People may also allow portrayals of motorcycle riders from TV shows and movies to influence their perceptions about motorcyclists. For example, people may think many riders are in gangs or have criminal records. Movies often show chase scenes with bikers speeding and running lights. People may not like loud pipes and think all bikers are obnoxious.

Unfortunately, at-fault drivers, police officers, insurance companies, judges and juries may all display some level of motorcycle bias against riders who are seeking compensation. This unfair bias can make it harder for riders to recover full compensation for their injuries.

How do I Fight Against Motorcycle Bias?

Some people, particularly those who work for insurance companies, may never change their preconceived ideas about motorcycle riders. Even if an insurance adjuster has a reasonable opinion about motorcyclists, he or she may still manage a motorcycle crash claim in a way that seems biased against the rider. Insurance companies are all looking for a way to deny or devalue a claim. 20 percent fault for being on a bike is the norm.

Despite these biases, there are things you can do to show you are a responsible rider, which may make it harder to dispute the validity of your claim.

Wear a Helmet

Even though you are not required to wear a helmet if you are at least 18 years old, wearing a helmet could reduce your risk of serious or fatal injury in a crash. Wearing a helmet is also the responsible thing to do.

You can be the sure the insurance company will try to use the failure to wear a helmet against you when you are seeking compensation. They argue “the head injury would not have happened if she was wearing a helmet, so we are not responsible for all the damages.”

Get a Helmet Camera

Another step you could take is to install a helmet camera. The footage may go a long way toward establishing what happened in the crash and potentially proving the fault of the driver. It can prove the biker was not speeding or acting in any unreasonable manner.

Be a Safe Driver

Following traffic laws and avoiding reckless driving can help prevent the police from issuing traffic citations. Even though your past driving record should have no bearing on your claim for compensation, the insurance company may try to use it against you.

Seek Treatment Immediately

Getting to the hospital right after the crash is an important step that helps to establish a solid connection between your injuries and the crash. For example, if the crash happened at 5 p.m. and you get to the hospital an hour or two later, it is difficult for the insurance company to argue that something else caused your injuries.

If you wait a day or more to go to the hospital, however, the insurance company may say you suffered an injury somewhere else after the crash. Not seeking treatment right away makes it seem like you are not taking the situation seriously.

Talk to a Lawyer

You may not think you need a lawyer to recover compensation for your injuries, but insurance companies are notorious for denying and undervaluing claims. What if you need treatment after your claim is settled? Do you know how to estimate the cost of future treatment? What if the insurance company denies your claim? What if the insurance company assigns you an unreasonable amount of fault for the crash?

TSR is fully prepared to assist you with your claim, fighting for full compensation for your injuries and other losses. We have recovered fair compensation from insurance companies countless times, and we know how to build a strong case.

Hiring a lawyer often causes insurance companies to take claims more seriously or make a better offer of compensation, particularly if your lawyer has a history of winning cases in court. Insurance companies know attorneys usually do not take cases to court unless they think they have a strong argument that is likely to appeal to a jury.

Are You the Victim of a Motorcycle Crash? Call Today

For more than 20 years, TSR Injury Law has been assisting crash victims seeking compensation for their damages. Our firm has secured over $1 billion in compensation in a variety of cases, many involving motor vehicle crashes.

We are here to answer your questions and assist you during this difficult time. There are no fees to meet with us to discuss the crash, and if you have a case, there are no fees while we work on it.

Call TSR Injury Law today: (612) TSR-TIME.