The most important decision you will make following a personal injury is which Attorney or law firm you will hire to take your case. The second most important decision you will make is whether to settle the case for the amount offered.
I feel that a lot of injured victims might not understand their rights and options regarding settlement, so I have decided to write this post. This is basic information that you should consider when deciding whether you should settle your personal injury claim, and if so, for how much. Be prepared to have this conversation with your attorney when the time comes.
If the other person is clearly at fault for causing your personal injury, you can expect to receive an offer for settlement from the insurance company. This will likely occur in many types of personal injury cases especially, auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, ATV accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Settlements might be offered in medical malpractice or product liability cases, but typically only after a lawsuit has been filed.
It is important to remember that you, the victim, decide whether to settle a case or not. An Attorney can advise you whether the offer is fair or too low, but he or she should not decide whether to settle the case. If you feel that the offer does not fairly compensate you for the injury sustained, you should ask your attorney to carefully explain your options.
If you choose to refuse a settlement offer, then your only option is to file a lawsuit. Not all cases are good candidates for litigation and you should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case with your attorney. Remember that by filing a lawsuit you are running the risk of losing the case and receiving no compensation. Furthermore, minor injuries can often be settled for fair amounts without the additional expense and time required from a trial.
Settlement, however, is not always the best option. Settlement means that you are accepting an amount in lieu of exercising your right to go to trial and have a jury decide what is reasonable compensation. If the offer from the insurance company is fair, then it makes sense to settle the case and receive your money right away rather than waiting years for litigation. If the offer is unfair, or less than you initially wanted, than it might not be in your best interest to settle the case.
The most important thing to remember is that you are in control of your case. It is your injury and compensation. Do not be afraid to discuss your options and rights with your attorney so that you fully understand the decision you are making.
I have always made it a priority to have an open and communicative relationship with my clients. We can discuss your options regarding settlement and trial at any time and weigh the pros and cons of each decision. If you have been injured through the fault of another person, contact my office immediately for a free consultation.