Reclaiming Your Life after a Devastating Accident

Three Major Questions To Answer Before Settling Your Injury Case

by Stacy Dean

Settling an injury case before trial has several benefits. It helps you avoid the uncertainties of trial, ensures you get your money as soon as possible, and allows you to maintain your privacy. This doesn't mean that resolution before trial is always a good idea. For example, you shouldn't settle your case without answering these three questions:

Is the Money Worth It?

For most people, the major point of pursuing a personal injury case is to seek monetary compensation for the damages occasioned by the accident. If that is your situation, then you need to analyze the offer versus what you believe to be the worth of your case.

This may look easy on paper, but it requires skill and experience in practice. Some of the factors determining the worth of a case include:

  • Direct monetary loss (such as your medical bills and the cost of repairing your car)
  • Whether your injuries are permanent
  • How much the accident has disrupted your life
  • Whether you contributed to the accident

Sit down with your attorney and put a value to your case considering the above factors, among others. Then compare it to the offer tabled by the defendant or their insurance company. As your attorney will probably tell you, take the offer if it isn't too far from your valuation.

How Strong Is Your Case?

This question is important because even if your case is worth a million dollars, it won't help you much if you can't prove your damages and the defendant's liability. Therefore, evaluate the strength of your case versus the strength of the defendant's defense.

Do you have witnesses? Have you documented your losses satisfactorily? Did you contribute to the accident? Do you have a legal basis for your claim? These are some of the things that will determine how your case stacks up against the defendant's case. If you have a weak case, then you should strongly consider settling because your risk of losing at trial is high. If your case is strong, it might make more sense to consider going to trial.

What Are You Giving Up?

While monetary compensation is usually the primary objective of pursuing an injury case, it isn't the only one. An out-of-court injury settlement is a give-and-take affair where each party gives up a little and gains a little. Therefore, before accepting or rejecting an offer, evaluate what you are giving up by accepting the offer.

For example, in a product liability case, the defendant may offer you a handsome settlement if you agree to keep its details secret. This is usually an attempt to keep other prospective plaintiffs from seeking the same form of compensation. Therefore, you should only accept such an offer only if you are comfortable with the conditions attached to it. 

For more information and help making your decision, work with an experienced lawyer from a company like The Bernstein Law Firm.