should I finish medical treatment before accepting personal injury settlement?

Should You Finish Your Medical Treatment Before Accepting an Injury Settlement in South Carolina?

You’ve been hurt in a car accident, and the other party’s insurance company seems eager to settle with you. That’s good news, right? They know that their driver is at fault and they’re in a hurry to make it right.

Wrong. Injuries are unpredictable, and the insurance company wants to rush you into a settlement before your injury gets more expensive. Once you’ve signed a liability waiver and accepted a settlement, it doesn’t matter what happens with your injury. You can no longer ask for more.

You need an attorney to represent your best interests after a personal injury. We’re here to help. Call Peake & Fowler at 803-788-4370 to get started.

Estimating Your Medical Bills

A huge part of any personal injury settlement is medical expenses. Without a full recovery, it’s essentially impossible to know how much your medical expenses will really be. Because of this, it’s likely that any early settlement you accept will not have enough for your medical bills. You could be left holding thousands of dollars in bills with no way to pay them and no opportunity to seek more money from the liable party. Waiting until your treatment is done—or at least close to done—gives you a much more accurate estimate of your medical expenses.

Treatment is Expensive and an Early Settlement Could Cause Financial Harm

Treatment costs vary widely, and until you know if a treatment has been successful or not you don’t know what comes next. Consider a broken rib, for example. In most cases, broken ribs heal on their own with rest and time.

If they don’t and they cause discomfort, you may need surgery to repair the broken rib. If they don’t heal and they puncture a lung, you’d need far more invasive treatment for pneumothorax. The price points of these treatments are incredibly different and accepting a settlement under the assumption that your broken rib will heal on its own could leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in treatment costs.

Reaching the Point of Maximum Medical Improvement

What’s the goal you should reach before accepting a settlement? You should aim to reach the point of maximum medical improvement. This term is used to describe when an injury has healed as much as it ever will. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the injury has healed completely since some injuries never do. Even if it only partially heals, you may have reached the point of maximum medical improvement if your doctors don’t anticipate further healing.

This serves several purposes. First, it allows you to estimate accurately the bulk of your medical expenses. Second, it shows you what life will look like for you after your injury. This gives you the chance to see if you’ll be dealing with lingering pain, limited mobility, or other side effects for the rest of your life. If you will, you may want to account for that when asking for compensation for pain and suffering.

The Prognosis of Your Injury

Some personal injury settlements include compensation for future medical expenses. This is typically only done if an injury is severe enough to require long-term or permanent care. An accurate and fully informed prognosis is key to knowing whether or not your injuries will need more treatment in the future. Chronic injuries can be financially devastating to victims, and if you suffer one because of someone else’s negligence, you should not take on the financial consequences alone.

When considering your prognosis, don’t forget to account for expenses like home renovations to accommodate a disability, the need for long-term care providers, expenses related to keeping up with your household chores, and ongoing diagnostic tests and treatments.

Getting the settlement that you deserve is tricky, especially with insurance companies always looking for ways to shortchange you and pad their profits. Working with an attorney is one way to give your personal injury claim the best shot at success.

Pursue Full and Fair Compensation with Peake & Fowler

When you choose Peake & Fowler for your personal injury claim, you can feel confident knowing that we will work tirelessly to secure a fair settlement or jury award for you. Take the first step right now by calling us at 803-788-4370 or filling out our online contact form.