Moving towards a settlement is not a clear sign of victory. It's a good sign that the other party is accepting some responsibility for the situation. A settlement is not an admission of guilt, but it is an assumption of financial responsibility, and your legal opponent's next job is to make you walk away with as little money as possible. To make sure that you're as physically, mentally, and financially secure as possible, here are a few points to consider before accepting any amount of money--no matter how many zeroes are after the dollar sign.
Medical Bills Come First
Many injury victims have the wrong idea about massive payouts in the millions of dollars for people who seem to have recovered well enough. What they may not see is the large amount of money that goes straight to hospitals and specialists.
When you're being treated for an injury, someone has to get paid for their trouble. Even without the insurance industry involved, bringing a condition that is worth a hospital stay and legal action is no small task.
That big number isn't just spending money for your personal life. It can also be difficult to calculate medical costs if your treatment isn't complete, or if long-term disability conditions are possible. It's fine to hope for the best, but there's no reason to ignore the possible costs.
A personal injury lawyer can help you figure out the proper amount with the help of experienced medical professionals, and once you get that number, set it aside to never be touched for personal reasons. That money comes next.
Lost Wages, Property Replacement, And Other Personal Costs
Once you have the medical costs sorted out, work on replacing anything that was damaged and recouping lost wages. If you're working, one of the first things you should do while figuring out compensation is to show salary or wage statements from your job. If you missed work due to the injury, the other party should be responsible.
Contractors have a bit more work to do, but it's not difficult to calculate your potential earnings based on past clientele--especially since lawyers usually work on the same terms! Make sure that any payments you submit can be verified by receipt, check number, or customer records.
You will also need to report your earnings on your taxes if you haven't already, just to further prove your point and to avoid being called out on possible tax fraud by your opponent. If any personal belongings such as a phone, tools used on the job, or irreplaceable keepsakes are damaged, you will need to begin gathering receipts and working on appraisals with your lawyer.
Contact a personal injury lawyer, like one from Walsh Fewkes Sterba, to begin preparing a list of your financial needs.