There’s no doubt that it’s difficult to get by in the aftermath of a serious car accident. You might face significant physical pain and newfound limitations, and your financial stability might be cratered. Together, these damages can take quite an emotional toll, and it’s one that can last for years or even decades into the future.
Fortunately, you might be able to find accountability and recoup compensation for your losses by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important to realize, though, that many of these cases end up resolving before they ever get to trial. The thought of a quick settlement might be tempting to you, especially if you’re set to receive a larger amount of cash than you’ve ever seen before. But before you accept a settlement, you have to carefully consider the facts of your case to determine if doing so is really in your best interests.
With that in mind, let’s look at some considerations that you should take into account when analyzing your settlement offer:
- The extent of your damages: You can’t tell if your settlement offer is proper if you don’t know the full extent of your damages. That’s why it’s critical that you carefully analyze the facts to properly value on your claim. This includes your lost wages and decreased earnings capacity, your incurred and anticipated medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, and your pian and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. It can be hard to put a number on some of these losses, but an attorney can help you here.
- Evidence of liability: If your settlement offer is low in light of your true losses, then you’ll want to look at the evidence that is favorable to your position. If it clearly demonstrates that the defendant was responsible for the accident and you can prove the extent of your damages, then you may be better off taking your case to trial.
- Evidence of comparative fault: Even if the evidence in your favor seems strong, you still need to analyze your case for indications of comparative fault. Here, if the defense can show that you’re partially at fault for the accident, then your ultimate recovery may be significantly reduced. If you’re found to be more than 51% at fault, then you’ll be barred from recovering compensation altogether. Comparative fault is a common argument in these cases, so be prepared to rebut it.
- Your immediate financial need: We hate to say it, but insurance companies know that many car accident victims simply can’t afford to wait for their legal claim to pay out. These companies take advantage of this reality and therefore pay out smaller settlement amounts that allow them to avoid full liability. So, if you’re in a position where you just need financial resources as quickly as possible, then you might want to think about how to negotiate the best settlement possible. If you can wait for trial, though, then seeing your case through to the end may be in your best interests.
Don’t be taken advantage of during the settlement negotiation process
There’s a lot on the line in your personal injury case, and you only get one shot to recover the compensation that you need and deserve. That’s why you need to do everything in your power to ensure that you’re protecting your interests as fully as possible. This might include discussing the circumstances of your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to fight for a just outcome.