Is A Low Settlement Offer Unavoidable Due To COVID-19 Delays?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Apr 20, 2020 in Personal Injury
Economic pressures, caused by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting shutdown, are having a significant effect on personal injury lawsuits. With significant rises in unemployment, injured victims are more vulnerable, and many are tempted to accept the first offer from an insurance company.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your claim, without the need for a face-to-face meeting. If you have a valid case and we represent you, there are no out-of-pocket charges or attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Why Some Victims Feel Pressured To Accept a Lowball Claim Amid Shutdown
Many injured victims are facing unemployment or reduced hours due to the ongoing shutdown restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak. The pressure of needing immediate financial help may push them to accept the first offer from the insurance company, however low. In the long-term, that relief may be both insufficient and short-lived. If you have not completed all prescribed medical treatments needed to help you reach your maximum recovery, then your compensation may be far less than your claim is worth.
Additionally, insurance companies, feeling their own economic pressures, may unnecessarily delay claims even further and push for low settlement offers. While these tactics are not unusual for insurance companies, many may use the crisis to take advantage of injured victims.
Other Coronavirus Consequences Delaying Claims
There are multiple challenges affecting personal injury lawsuits amid this pandemic, including:
Fear of Seeking Medical Care
Many injured victims are afraid to seek medical care during this coronavirus outbreak, even if they need it. However, healthcare institutions are prepared to handle both urgent care and more minor injuries and diseases. If you are injured, it is important to seek immediate medical care to ensure the protection of your health, as well as your potential claim. If your injuries appear to be minor, you can seek an initial evaluation through a virtual visit with your physician. Check with your provider for more specifics about what they may offer.
Court hearings are being delayed during the shutdown restrictions to limit exposure of the virus. Additionally, the statute of limitations for some claims has been extended. While this may seem like an advantage, many injured victims may delay filing too long because they think they have more time. However, if you incorrectly determine your filing date, you could accidentally miss your deadline along with any opportunity to recover damages.
More Incidents Involving Uninsured Defendants
With so many Americans becoming unemployed or working with reduced hours or salaries, there may be more accidents involving defendants without insurance. This is happening because people may either forget to pay or not be able to pay during the economic crisis, causing their policy to lapse.
These increased delays and complications are just a few reasons why seeking legal assistance from a qualified attorney may benefit your claim.
Alternatives to Taking a Lowball Settlement Offer
Here is some important information to know before you rush into accepting that lowball insurance offer:
Settlement Offer Evaluations
Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Pfeifer, Stesiak & Morgan are available to provide a completely free review of your situation, including any settlement offers you may have received. Understanding your accident details and other considerations that may factor into your claim can help us to assess whether your settlement will even begin to cover the damages resulting from your accident.
Should You Consider Other Financial Relief?
You may read about litigation loans online. While this option for financial relief may look tempting, we do not recommend it. These types of “loans” are relatively new and not regulated by the federal government. Below, we discuss important details and additional precautions:
- What is a litigation loan? A litigation “loan” is really a cash advance against the calculated value of your claim and estimated settlement. It does not come from your attorney, as it would be unethical for a lawyer to offer that type of financial advance.
- Who may be eligible? You may be eligible to apply for a litigation “loan” if you have a pending lawsuit, such as a personal injury case. Your credit score does not come into question since it is not actually a loan.
- Do I have to pay it back? Yes, but only if you win your case. If you do not win your case, you will not have to pay this money back. However, this is where it gets sticky. As with any type of loan or cash advance, this money is not free. It is paid back with interest and comes out of your final settlement. Some of these interest rates are exorbitantly high. What this means is that if your case does not settle for months or even years, that interest continues to build. Since the loan is paid back by the settlement, you could come out owing more than the total amount of compensation awarded.
In short, we strongly recommend that you first consider other forms of financial relief and consumer protections the government is offering during the coronavirus shutdown, which could include:
- Government assistance, such as unemployment or partial unemployment
- Disability insurance, if your injuries caused you to become fully or partially disabled
- Borrowing from a relative, if that is an option
- Taking a loan out on your 401(k). While it is usually good to avoid this option because of the penalty taxes you may have to pay, and because you actually need that money for your retirement, the federal government has temporarily made it possible to borrow up to $100,000 from a 401(k) , without any penalties, if it is related to, or because of the coronavirus crisis.
Our Firm Can Provide Legal Help Without Meeting Face-to-Face
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, our South Bend personal injury lawyers are prepared to review your new injury claim, without the need for an in-person meeting. Whether by phone or an online virtual meeting, we have secure and confidential methods in place that enable us to provide you with the legal help you need now.
Contact us today or at your convenience. We can take your call day or night. Your initial consultation is completely free and if you hire our legal services, you do not pay us unless or until we win a settlement or verdict for you.
Our legal team puts your health and safety first. Call our firm today at: (844) 678-1800