Personal Injury Lawyer
In personal injury cases, the at-fault party is responsible for compensating the victim for all expenses they faced as a result of the injury. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and more. If you are in a personal injury lawsuit, you may have received an offer for a settlement. Alternatively, you may simply want to be prepared if you are offered a settlement in the future. Regardless of your situation, you may be wondering what you should do if this happens.
What Settling Means
Media often depicts a lawsuit as a battle and settling as admitting defeat. This is a very unrealistic way of viewing accepting an offer to settle. The only thing settling out of court means is that both sides have agreed to end the lawsuit to save time, money, and effort. In reality, the vast majority of lawsuits end in a settlement of some kind. It is very rare for a lawsuit to go all the way to its in-court conclusion. If the other party offers you a settlement, you should always consider if it would be best to accept. Of course, there are also times you should refuse the settlement or make a counteroffer. Your lawyer can advise you for each individual case.
When Not To Settle
There are only a few situations where it is best not to settle:
- You have not spoken with your legal representation first. Some lawyers will make an offer to the plaintiff directly, hoping that the individual will not consult with his or her lawyer first. Your lawyer can always tell you whether the offer is fair or not.
- You have not completed medical treatment yet. It is always a good idea to recover from your injuries before accepting a settlement. You cannot know if the amount the defendant is offering will cover your medical bills if you have not received all your treatment yet. Sometimes extra expenses pop up suddenly, and if you have already settled, you will not be compensated for these expenses. It is usually a good idea to fully recover before you even file the lawsuit, although this is not always an option due to the statute of limitations or medical expenses.
- The settlement is not fair. Your lawyer can advise you on whether the settlement is fair. You should not be trying to maximize what you receive, but simply receive what is a fair amount for your injuries and expenses.
Remember that the first step you take after being injured should always be to seek out legal representation.