It’s not universally true that you can get a bigger award in a trial, but it’s worth exploring the option if the settlement offer is a lowball offer.
After an accident, your insurance company will most likely try to settle with you to avoid a lengthy trial during which they may be forced to pay you a higher amount of compensation. However, many people choose to accept a settlement because this process also takes a toll on their finances, personal life, and mental well-being. But if you’re thinking about accepting a settlement, it’s important to know the following before committing to a decision.
- How Extensive are Your Injuries?
Accidents can leave victims with extensive injuries, and it can be hard to know the full scope of them until considerable time has passed. Unfortunately, you’ll be expected to have decided on a path for your case long before then.
If you settle now, you will likely waive all your rights to future compensation related to the incident. While it can seem like a good deal now, you may face future expenses related to your injuries that aren’t apparent right now, including the following:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Mobility devices
- Physical and emotional therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
It’s best not to settle until your injuries are fully healed, but this might not be an option for you. If you’re feeling pressure to take a deal, a medical expert could provide you with advice on the best option to move forward. A good personal injury attorney like one of the dedicated professionals at Laborde Earles Law Firm (check out their website: https://onmyside.com/) can also provide you with legal guidance to help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.
- How Much Have You Negotiated?
Is the settlement you’re thinking of taking your insurance company’s first offer? If so, you’ll want to give negotiations a chance. According to Nolo, negotiating with insurance companies can boost the average settlement from $11,800 for a first-time offer to $42,500 after a few rounds of talks. Don’t leave money on the table that could be yours if you just asked!
- Learn How a Release of Liability Works
A liability release is what prevents you from obtaining more compensation after you’ve accepted a settlement. That means if you face new expenses years down the road related to your accident, you won’t be able to claim them from the party you’re settling with. If you think you might face serious expenses years from now, it may not be wise to settle, or if you do, you may want an amount higher than you’ve expected.
- Determine Who is Responsible
Before agreeing to a settlement, you’ll want to know who was responsible for your accident. This can be a major factor that determines the size of the settlement you’re offered. If you can establish that you bear little to no responsibility for the accident, you may be entitled to a larger settlement.
- Could You Get a Bigger Award with a Trial?
One of the most important questions to ask is if you could get a bigger award with a trial instead of taking the initial settlement. Remember, insurance companies are usually eager to settle a case. While it’s not universally true that you can get a bigger award in a trial, it’s worth exploring the option, especially if you’re dissatisfied with the insurance company’s first offer and what they offer after negotiations.
A settlement can change your life for the better, but if you aren’t fully aware of what your decision means for yourself and your ability to obtain future compensation, you could be left high and dry with new expenses. That makes it vital to learn all about your options before making a commitment. With an expert attorney by your side, you can properly evaluate your options and choose the one best suited to your needs.