The Big Issue: To Accept Or Decline A Personal Injury Settlement OfferShare
If you are pursuing a personal injury case, there comes a time when you have to decide whether or not to accept a settlement offer. This is the time when the insurance adjuster or defendant convinces you that they cannot make a better offer. Consider the following factors before you accept or decline such an offer.
The Value of the Case
The value of the case depends on the physical and monetary damages you have suffered as a result of the accident. This means that you add up the medical damages, your pain and suffering, lost wages, future losses, and more.
Different parties usually place different values on an injury. Most of the discrepancies are likely to stem from the value of the non-monetary damages, which are difficult to quantify. Although the final decision is yours, you shouldn't disregard the lawyer's appraisal of the case because their legal expertise and experience are likely to yield more accurate results than your deliberations.
The Strength of the Case
Even if your case has more value than what the adjuster is offering, you may not get the money if you go to court and have a weak case. The evidence you have, the degree of the defendant's liability, and testimony (eyewitness and expert) are some of the things that determine the strength of your case. Consider accepting the offer if your lawyer thinks your case is weak.
The Potential Recovery
Once you know how much your case is worth and how strong it is, you should also consider how much you can recover from the defendant. Just because the defendant is liable for $5,000,000, it doesn't mean you will get that much even if you win the case. What if the defendant only has an insurance limit of $1,000,000?
Note that the defendant's insurance coverage will be your first point for recovery if you win your case. Beyond that, you can go after the defendant's assets, if they have any. Take the settlement money if you don't think you can recover more money if you go to trial.
The Cost of Trial
Lastly, don't forget that some of your injury awards will offset the cost of the trial. Court expenses, expert witness fee, travel costs, and your lawyer's fee all come out of the award. Since you only get to keep a percentage of the award, there are scenarios where you can win and recover more than the settlement offer you rejected but remain with less money after expense deductions.
For more tips on accepting or declining your settlement offer, talk to a personal injury attorney such as The Cochran Firm of the Mid-South.