Should You Accept a Settlement Before Completing Your Medical Treatment?
Jared: Hi, my name is Jared Richards, and I’m one of the attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has recently asked whether they should accept a settlement before their medical treatment is finished. The answer is it depends. There are different factors that go into this. One of the main factors is what is the size of the insurance policy or what’s the size of the funds available to pay the claim.
For example, if you have medical treatment that’s going to cost $300,000 over the course of four years but there’s only $50,000 to settle this claim, and that’s really all there is going to be, then yes.
It would make some sense to accept that settlement before your treatment is finished. However, if it’s a large amount of money that is available to pay the claim, let’s say a major company has injured you, and they actually have the ability to pay the true value of your claim, then often it’s not a good idea to take a settlement before treatment is done.
However, sometimes treatment can take years and years and years. At some point during the settlement, if that’s the case, your attorney’s going to sit down with your doctors and perhaps a life care planner, that is a professional who is paid to help determine what future medical treatment is going to be, and they can make estimates as to what that expense is going to be.
Then that can factor into the amount that you settle. In that case, you would be settling before your treatment is done.
The short answer is it can be complicated and you should talk to your attorney. Looks like Brian has a question.
Brian: How do you find out how much money is available to pay your claim?
Jared: That can be tricky sometimes. First of all, you need to look for available insurance policies. Now most of the time you can find that through police reports or you can force the other side to disclose that as a term of settlement. If you actually go into a lawsuit, the other side is absolutely required to tell you all insurance available.
Now as far as funds outside of insurance, it’s going to vary from state to state. The state of Nevada protects people’s personal assets really quite aggressively.
There are so many things that are protected: houses, cars, insurance policies like life insurance policies, annuities, certain investors that are protected that you can never access even if you were to go get a big judgment against them. Because of that, most people simply just look to the insurance policy.
You could try to go after somebody’s personal assets if it looks like they have them, but sometimes that’s a gamble.
That’s one of the things that you should talk to your attorney about and make a game plan as to whether you’re going to go after insurance or whether there are also personal assets that might help pay for the claim and might help compensate you for what you’ve lost.
Anyway, it can be a complicated question, so please talk to your attorney. If you have questions for us, we’re happy to help. Give us a call. Thanks.