When handling a personal injury claim, settlement out of court can be ideal: it reduces the number of cases in the courts, court cases are much more time-consuming, and they can be very expensive. Therefore, settling out of court saves you both time and money.
When you have a personal injury claim, the insurance company might ask you to consider settling the matter out of court. You will receive a low settlement offer from an insurance company, with them hoping that you sign it. However, before you accept settling out of court, there are several things you need to consider.
Here are six things you need to consider before accepting to settle your personal injury claim out of court.
1. Getting a Lawyer
Many people will communicate with insurance companies on their own to avoid paying legal fees. You can receive a settlement offer from the insurance company, but it will not be the same amount it could potentially be if you had a lawyer representing you.
Insurance companies want to pay nothing or a very small amount, and, if they get a chance to pay the smallest amount, they will take advantage of that option. Getting a lawyer to represent you will ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
2. Is Settling out of Court the Best Option?
Personal injury cases take a long time to resolve, and many parties would want to settle rather than spend years in court. You need to look at your case and see if settling is the best option for you. Your attorney will advise you on the best option. If you can get an amount from settling out of court equal or close to that from a trial, then there is no need to waste time litigating.
3. Full Recovery
Some injuries might take years to heal, and you will have to visit the doctor for a few years. This means that you will have medical bills from the injuries for the next five or ten years. If you settle early and get paid without knowing if you are fully recovered, you might end up not including certain medical bills in your damages.
You should only settle if you are confident that you have fully recovered or know the timeline to fully recover. Once you settle, there are no other means of claiming new damages.
4. Damages You Seek
Depending on your injuries, you can seek particular damages, but there are those damages that you cannot pursue. You need to know which damages you want to recover from the liable party.
Make sure you include non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Your attorney will look into your medical records and decide the amount you would assign to the non-economic damages.
5. Filing the Suit in Court
Not all personal injury claims will be resolved out of court, and sometimes litigation is the best option. Your attorney will prepare for negotiations and litigation. If negotiation fails, you can easily continue with litigation. Being ready to file also shows the insurance company that you are ready to fight in court rather than take their low offer.
6. Do Not Accept the First Offer
There is no way the insurance company will state a reasonable amount in their first offer. The first offer is usually the lowest amount, and, if you take it, it might not even cover all your expenses.
There should be a back and forth between your attorney and the insurance company. A personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance company and ensure the final offer you get is reasonable.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
During negotiations with the insurance company, it is prudent that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. An excellent personal injury attorney will have your best interest at heart and will ensure that you receive the best settlement.