Errant drivers, and their insurance providers, often quickly approach car accident victims with settlement offers that they hope will quickly resolve the matter. If you’re in this situation, then you need to recognize that these parties are not your friends. They might seem nice when they willingly offer you money to settle any potential claim, but the chances are high that they’re trying to lowball you in hopes of avoiding a larger settlement or judgment in the future.
Points to ponder
So, before you accept a settlement offer after your car accident, you need to know whether doing so is in your best interests. To determine that, you might want to consider the following:
- How strong is your case: Analyze the evidence to get a clear picture of the likelihood that you’ll be able to establish liability. This means assessing accident reports, reconstruction investigations, police reports, and witness accounts. While you’re looking for the strengths of your case, you’ll also need to be aware of any weaknesses that the defense might be able to exploit.
- Consider whether you’re partially at fault: If your case goes to trial and you’re found to be partially at fault, then your judgment can be significantly reduced, even to an amount than was less than your settlement offer. So be wary of the risk of going to trial in this regard.
- Know what your claim is worth: You can’t determine if a settlement offer is appropriate if you don’t know the value of your case. Therefore, carefully consider your medical diagnosis and prognosis, your lost wages, and your earnings capacity. You might also have to try to put a value on your pain and suffering, which is very challenging to do.
- Determine how badly you want to go to trial: Trials can be stressful and prolonged. They can certainly be worth it, but some people find that they don’t want to deal with the frustrations that are often associated with litigation. Think about that when considering whether to accept a settlement offer.
Think once again
There isn’t a universal answer when it comes to answering whether a settlement offer is appropriate. It’s highly dependent upon the facts at hand and the individual who is forced to make the decision. This is why many individuals find it beneficial to discuss these matters with an attorney who can help them navigate their case and develop a clearer sense of the risks and rewards of each option.