What to Do if an Injury Defendant Wants to Pay Without a Settlement or Lawsuit

Law Blog

There are some injury cases where defendants might offer to compensate victims without going through the normal legal wrangling. Especially if you need money right now, it can be tempting to take the offer. However, there are several reasons you should consult with a personal injury lawyer and discuss your options before accepting.

Off-the-Books Compensation

Generally, it's a bad idea for everybody involved for the defendant to pay without getting everything in writing. There's nothing wrong if they want to document everything along the way, but you should be suspicious if they don't want a formal agreement and receipts. They may be trying to dodge insurance premium hikes or bigger legal problems.

The injury claims system exists for a reason. Hiring an injury attorney is a good first step in protecting your rights. For that matter, a defendant should go through official channels because it's a good way to protect their interests, too. They should carry insurance, and frankly, this is the time for their insurer to make good on all the premiums paid. If they don't have insurance, a lawyer can still help both sides explore an option like a payment plan or an annuity.

Waiting to Establish the Extent of the Injuries

Even if the defendant is comfortable with an official settlement, you may still need to be patient. A personal injury attorney never wants to settle a case until they've determined how extensive a client's issues might be. Personal injury law rarely gives you two cracks at getting compensation so you have to make the most of your one shot. You don't want to think a broken wrist, for example, is all you're dealing with only to later learn there's extensive nerve damage.

Your lawyer will wait to receive medical, police, first responder, and incident reports. They may also need to consult with specialists to decide what your long-term prospects are for physical recovery. Once they know that, your injury attorney will have an idea of how much compensation you should demand.

Don't Sign Anything

Someone may offer you money upfront and ask you to sign documents. Even if it just appears to be a receipt, don't sign it. You do not want to risk any perception that you agreed to a settlement. If the defendant asks you to sign something, tell them to give you a copy so you can take it to a personal injury law firm. A lawyer can then review the paperwork and tell you what to do next. 

Learn more by contacting services like Law Office of Robert Karwin.


22 June 2021