If you were involved in an accident that resulted in personal injury, you have two primary options for getting compensation. These options are: filing a lawsuit and accepting an injury settlement. Essentially, you can take the responsible party to court and if you are successful, the defendant will be legally required to pay you an amount that corresponds to your medical expenses and other types of suffering or lost wages. During the lawsuit, the defendant may make an offer to settle out of court, which will involve signing an agreement for how much you will receive. The question then becomes whether or not you should settle.
Settling a Case Out of Court
Due to the depictions of lawsuits in television and movies, many people do not realize that the vast majority of lawsuits end in a settlement out of court. Never think of settling as admitting defeat, letting the guilty party “off the hook,” or accepting less than you could otherwise receive. Settling is simply a way for the case to end with both sides saving time, effort, and legal fees. It is often a very good idea to settle, but only if the offer is fair. If you need money to pay for your medical bills right away, some companies or individuals will try to make a low offer. A lawyer can advise you on whether or not an offer is fair. Most lawyers recommend settling if it is at all possible.
When Should You Not Settle
- Before you have spoken to a legal professional – If you have not gotten legal advice, there is no way you can be sure that the settlement is fair. Even if it is a huge amount of money, it may still be less than you could potentially receive. Many people are not used to the large amount of money that is involved in injury cases, so the offer may seem better than it really is.
- Before you have finished medical treatment – There is no way to know how much your medical bills will be until treatment is complete. Do not try to estimate, because you cannot file another lawsuit to recover the difference between the initial settlement and what you actually ended up paying.
- When the terms of the settlement are not in your favor – A lawyer can tell you when an offer is fair or not. They have the experience needed to know how much a court will order the defendant to pay based on the specific case details.