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If you have suffered an injury while working on an oil rig or other oilfield location, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation. However, the at-fault parties and their insurance companies may try to pressure you into accepting a quick settlement before you have fully assessed your situation and options.
As tempting as it may be to take the money right away, especially if you have mounting medical bills or are unable to work, it is wise to proceed with caution when considering a quick settlement offer. Here are some key steps you should take if presented with a quick resolution proposal:
Carefully Evaluate Your Injuries and Losses
Do not rush to settle your oilfield accident case without first gaining absolute clarity on the full extent of your injuries, their impacts, and all past, present, and future losses they create. Some losses from an oil rig injury can be extensive yet not surface right away for months or years, such as:
- Chronic pain and disability that gets worse over time
- Mental health struggles like depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders
- Loss of future income and employer-provided benefits
- Medical expenses from multiple surgeries over a lifetime or lifelong care
- Monumental costs of home healthcare, mobility equipment, disability modifications
- The strain on family relationships leading to divorce
- Loss of household contributions like childcare, transportation, cooking, and cleaning.
Therefore, you should meticulously catalog in detail how the incident has negatively impacted all aspects of your life by creating a ledger or spreadsheet with overarching categories like:
- Past medical costs already incurred
- Projected future costs of medical care
- Inability to work and lost wages to date
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Loss of employer-sponsored benefits like health insurance, retirement matching, tuition reimbursement
- Loss of personal insurance coverage due to inability to work
- Costs associated with losing your home, declaring bankruptcy
- Chronic pain and emotional distress
- Physical abilities permanently lost or limited
- Psychological impacts requiring therapy or medication
- Costs of counseling and medication for conditions like depression, PTSD
- The strain on marital relationships leading to separation or divorce
- Loss of consortium for spouse due to sexual dysfunction
- Costs of surrogacy or adoption if unable to have children
- Loss of household contributions like childcare, transportation, cooking, cleaning
- Costs of hiring assistance to replace lost household contributions
- Reduction or loss of hobbies/recreation due to disability
Tallying all quantifiable accident costs, both already incurred and projected for the future, provides a clear picture of what sum total you need to cover these damages as completely as money can.
Quick settlement offers typically vastly underpay the true current and future value of such extensive losses. Do not let ethical lapses or urgency on behalf of liable parties motivate you into settling for pennies on the dollar.
Stand firm in your right to receive the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Take Adequate Time to Make Informed Decisions
The devastating aftermath of an oil rig explosion, fall from heights, equipment collapse or hazardous chemical exposure often leaves victims like you reeling both physically and emotionally.
The trauma, pain, financial constraints, and uncertainty cloud judgment fully. Such confusion means you cannot appropriately weigh all legal and settlement options as dispassionately needed to protect your best interests across lifetime scales.
Ethical legal teams advocating truly for clients never pressure individuals towards rushed choices but allow adequate time for situations to stabilize, injuries to reach maximal healing forecasts, and sound minds to return enough before thoughtfully analyzing all particulars of a case. Beware external promises of fast easy money that exchanges long-term security for temporary relief – these raise red flags.
Discuss ideal and minimum timeframes openly with your lawyer and only move to settle if or when your situation and mental outlook improve enough to grant reasonably wise judgment versus an emotionally desperate choice. If the anxious urge arises to settle in haste, call your attorney first to talk through motivations before contacting any insurance companies directly.
Scrutinize Settlement Offers Carefully
Thoroughly run any settlement offer past your trusted attorney before even considering it.
Verify together that the amount the defense proposes seems adequate to cover all current accident costs you have documented as well as make provisions for likely future costs across health, relationships, finances, and lifestyle.
Ask your counsel to help formulate salient questions for liable parties, like:
- Does accepting this current settlement legally release all negligent entities from any and all further liability after settlement, or only for specific damages? Make sure you thoroughly understand the full impacts on your rights of signing away powers to sue again.
- Are there any worrisome contingencies, restrictions, approvals, or bureaucratic processes still required prior to payment delivery if I agree now? Vet all settlement offer fine print exhaustively.
- What forms, actions, or commitments exactly does accepting require from me now vs later? Clarify expectations fully upfront to avoid post-settlement disputes.
- How are settlement disbursements categorized for tax purposes? Would a special needs trust be advantageous? Consult both my attorney and a financial planner to prevent unforeseen high taxes on funds.
Additionally, never let it slip to insurance representatives that you feel internal or external pressure to settle quickly due to financial duress or transactional fatigue. Such vulnerability only motivates them to leverage your weaknesses against you with demeaning low-ball offers.
Display outward patience and strength consistently while venting natural frustrations only to my attorney privately. Stay rationally detached from settlement dealings – your lawyer energetically fights on your behalf so you need not drain emotional reserves battling faceless corporations yourself.
Consider Structured Settlements vs Lump Sums
Lump sum payouts seem immediately attractive, providing a windfall to rapidly pay down debts accrued from the accident, purchase urgent medical equipment otherwise unaffordable, or attempt investing for the future. However in reality such large singular disbursements drain recipients’ finances rapidly when there is no contingency plan on how to manage them wisely.
Instead discuss alternative structured legal settlement options with my legal team as a smarter long-term path, where you would get:
- Initial partial lump sum payment to cover only absolutely urgent current needs and pay down high-interest debts. This prevents wasting full settlements on impulse buys bound to occur when overloaded by a sudden fortune.
- Steady guaranteed tax-free income for life through monthly payments over 30+ years structured to replace the wages truly lost over your full working lifespan. These recompense lost earnings more ethically than bulk sums preying on the inability to conceptualize lifetime costs.
- Income amounts automatically increased yearly by a fixed percentage to adjust for projected rising inflation and living costs over decades. This prevents future hardship from settlement funds losing practical value to economic shifts.
- Full ability to keep receiving needs-based government assistance like Medicaid, SSI, or SSD despite regular settlement payments which don’t count as income.
Properly customized structured settlements through legitimate firms provide both immediate relief for urgent needs as well as lasting financial stability that a single bulk payout fails to guarantee. And instead of you bearing full responsibility to self-manage settlement money solo for lifetime security – an unrealistic burden for even savvy investors – the liable parties must purchase recession-proof annuities through established insurance companies to fund your future periodic payments.
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
You have to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney in your state before even considering or consenting to any settlement offer. An empathetic yet aggressive lawyer well-versed in local injury law can analyze liability and accurately evaluate what your specific injury claim merits by factoring in both already realized and likely future costs across all applicable categories. They have keen expertise to gauge fair case value well beyond the dismissive amounts insurance representatives claim to calm victims.
In addition to their judgment and advice, you need an attorney who wins by your side if you are to maximize the compensation that you are to receive. This is because an attorney who wins can leverage their abundant experience and long track record of winning challenging court cases to ensure that you get above-average settlements. Therefore, they should be your first call as soon as you receive the quick settlement offer if your goal is to maximize your compensation.
Deciding whether to accept an early settlement offer in the turmoil following an oilfield accident injury often feels confusing, overwhelming, and intensely vulnerable when still struggling with losses. But by fully evaluating true costs, hiring an ethical attorney, giving yourself adequate time instead of rushing, closely analyzing all settlement offers, and exploring structured payment options to offset future risks, you make vastly more empowered choices aligned with your long-term best interests.
Do not let shrewd insurance companies manipulate fears over medical bills or independence losses to bully you towards quick uninformed decisions against your favor. Investigate all alternative compensation avenues under the counsel’s guidance. Be open to creative solutions that address immediate realities without forfeiting future security Funds lost in self-management cannot be recovered later. But justice comes steadily to those who persist wisely. Have courage and patience. With smart lawyers fighting for your rights, you will both recover further personally and settle favorably in the fullness of time.
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