Talk to a Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer Before Settling Your Injury Case
A lot of people do not like the idea of filing a personal injury lawsuit, even when they have been gravely mistreated or seriously injured. Whether it is culture, religion, politics or just a personal philosophy, if you are opposed to taking legal actions against someone else, you are not alone. If you feel uneasy with litigation, it is for good reason. There is a lot of misinformation out there, including a lot of propaganda designed to make it seem like all lawsuits are frivolous, or that people who sue are just greedy or entitled. Of course, this just is not the case.
Whatever your reasons for not wanting to pursue a case against someone who hurt you or your family, at a minimum you should consult an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney to review the terms of your potential settlement. Here are some things to think about before settling with an insurance company.
Do You Understand the Settlement Agreement?
To settle an auto accident or other personal injury claim, you’ll need to sign a “release.” Do not be mistaken; this is a serious contract that can prove problematic if you do not know what you are looking for. For instance, here are some things to consider:
- Does the release make you personally liable to Medicare, Medicaid, and your health plan? If so, and if you have not accounted for this, you could end up losing health coverage if you do not turn over every penny you received from the insurance company. That is right, you likely will have liens to reimburse.
- Is there a hidden confidentiality agreement? Normally personal injury settlements are tax free. You may not even realize it, but if your settlement is partly based on an agreement not to talk about or discuss the dispute, your recovery could be taxable. Plus, you could get in big trouble if you mess up later and violate the rule.
- Are you releasing parties that are not part of the case? In situations with multiple injured parties, you may have a right to pursue compensation against multiple insurance companies or individuals. Many releases are drafted so broadly that they potentially waive rights that are not even part of your dispute.
Discuss matters with experienced Floral Park personal injury lawyers or a Floral Park slip and fall accidents lawyer (if it is your case) before pursuing the case alone or agreeing to anything offered by the insurance company. Have your attorney explain to you everything you need to know about medical bills and records, confidentiality agreements, and the implication of other parties in your case. Also, it is wise to avoid signing the release without a lawyer verifying the documents. Remember that insurance companies do not work in your benefit, so you might have plenty of unsavory surprises after you sign papers with an insurer without your lawyer present.
Do You Understand Your Liens?
When health insurance pays for your medical bills and you recover money from the at-fault party, you will likely need to reimburse your health plan. A lien is a legal right to be paid out of your:
- Private health insurance
- Child support
- Workers’ compensation
- Auto insurance liens
Have You Negotiated With Your Healthcare Providers?
Did you know? You can negotiate your medical bills. After a personal injury, many health providers may not wish to bill your health insurance. There are a number of reasons for this. Before you accept a settlement in your case, make sure you know exactly what you owe each provider, make sure you know about all of your medical bills. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how to negotiate with collectors, hospitals, and healthcare groups to help you keep more money in your pocket.
How a Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Even if you do not necessarily wish to file a personal injury lawsuit, speaking with a Long Island personal injury attorney before settling can make sure that you have not overlooked a serious issue. At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we are devoted to helping injured New Yorkers every day. Call or visit us online to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to meet with you and discuss your case free of charge. There is no obligation. If you need help, we are here for you.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900