Let’s say you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligent actions. You filed or plan to file a personal injury lawsuit to be compensated for your expenses. Perhaps you have already started the court proceedings. No matter how far along you are in the process, you may be offered a settlement agreement. This gives many people pause. What should you do if you are given an offer to settle? The most important thing to do is to discuss it with your personal injury lawyer. Never accept or reject a settlement offer without consulting your legal representation. This simple guide will go over some of the basics.
What Settling Really Means
Movies and other forms of media have portrayed settling in an extremely negative light. You should never think of accepting a settlement agreement as giving in or admitting defeat in any way. That’s really not a very helpful way to view a court case. You should not be trying to “win,” but rather to regain what you lost. As such, accepting a settlement is simply a way that both parties can come to an agreement and both save court costs, time, and effort. There are situations where settling is your best option, and there are situations where you should not settle. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to advice you given the specific details of your case. It may surprise you to learn that nearly all court cases end with a settlement. It is actually quite rare for a civil case to go all the way to the ruling.
Knowing When Not To Settle
Typically, there are only three reasons you should not accept a settlement in a personal injury case:
- You have not yet spoken with your lawyer. This goes without saying. Always consult with a legal professional.
- You have not yet received medical treatment. If you have not received medical treatment, you cannot know how serious the injury is or how much it will cost to treat. There is no way to know whether or not the settlement offer includes all the expenses.
- The settlement offer is not fair. All settlements will be less than what could be gained in a court ruling. However, this does not make them unfair. The lower amount is in exchange for faster payment and saving court costs. Your personal injury lawyer in Deer Park, TX will be able to tell you if the settlement offer is small enough to be unfair. Ultimately, you will have to decide how much you value getting the whole experience behind you.
Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and settlement options.