Are you looking for some quick cash following a devastating car accident? If so, then you’re probably thinking about pursuing a personal injury lawsuit and settling your claim as fast as possible. Taking this approach could be a mistake.
While it’s true that most personal injury cases end up settling before they head to trial, the reality is that a settlement offer, especially an initial offer, may not be in your best interests.
Before you agree to settle your case, you should carefully analyze your circumstances and your likelihood of succeeding at trial in light of the offer that’s been made.
Analyzing a settlement offer
So how do you go about assessing a settlement offer? Here are a few factors that you need to pay particularly close attention to:
- The extent of your damages: As you navigate your personal injury case, take the time needed to fully assess your damages and what they’re worth in terms of a legal claim. This doesn’t end with adding up your current medical costs and lost wages; it also means anticipating what your medical costs are going to be moving forward and how your injuries will affect your ability to earn a wage in the future. Don’t overlook your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. After all, you’re not going to know how a settlement offer stacks up until you know what your claim is worth.
- The role you played in the accident: Under Massachusetts law, your recovery from a personal injury claim can be reduced if you’re found to have contributed to the accident. When that happens, your monetary award is reduced by the percentage of fault that is assigned to you. So, even if you think that your case is worth $100,000, that can translate to $60,000 if you’re found to be 40% at fault. This can make a $70,000 settlement offer more enticing.
- The evidence of negligence: It’s easy to overlook the nuances of proving negligence in your case because it seems simple to prove. But there may be evidentiary issues involved with your case that could affect your ability to prove liability. This may be especially true if you’re pursuing a vicarious liability claim against a truck company or some other employer. So, make sure that you’re putting in the time and effort necessary to identify these potential issues and how best to address them.
- Your desire for quick settlement: Some people simply want to close this chapter of their life and move on with their recovery. For them, settlement is appealing. For others, though, they just want to recover as much compensation as possible, regardless of how long it takes. For these victims, it may be worth holding out for trial, depending on the circumstances. Therefore, you have to consider what you want out of your claim and what you’re willing to endure if you want to take your case to trial.
Aggressively advocate for the outcome that you deserve
Your future is on the line in your personal injury case. That’s why you should be as prepared as possible to advocate for your position, both at the negotiation table and in court. We know that can be a stressful thought, but you don’t have to take this fight on all by yourself. Instead, you can choose to have a competent legal professional by your side to help you develop and present the arguments that you need to support your position and maximize your chances of success.
If you’re interested in having that type of advocacy on your side, then now may be the time to reach out to an attorney who you think is a good fit for you and your case.