Should you settle your accident case? We can’t tell you whether you should settle your accident case without knowing your specific situation. However, we can share what we consider when figuring out if our clients should settle their accident lawsuit. Drew breaks down how an accident lawyer looks at a case, insurance policies, medical records, and emotional distress when determining if his clients should settle.
“Should you settle your accident case?”
Hey, it’s Drew from Champlain Valley Law, coming up in this video, we’re going to talk about whether settling a personal injury case is right for you.
Well, let’s start at the very beginning. What does it mean to settle a case? At its most basic a settlement is an agreement. The insurance company agrees to pay you a sum of money and you agree to either end your lawsuit or not to bring one in the first place. And you do that by signing a piece of paper called a release.
A settlement can happen at any time or any place from the scene of the crash right up until the jury is about to give its verdict in your case, and sometimes even afterward, but just because you can settle a case quickly doesn’t mean that you should. For one thing, unlike medical insurance, unemployment, or workers’ compensation for that matter, there’s only a single claim to get resolved.
For instance, under ordinary times, if you get sick and go to the doctor, your medical insurance will process that individual claim. If a month later you get a separate and unrelated medical test, your insurance company will process that claim too. Each time a bill comes in, it gets handled, but that’s not how a personal injury claim works.
It’s a one-shot deal and a better cover all of the harms and losses that you’ve suffered as a result of that crash. That means you better be very sure you know the full outcome of your injuries. If you haven’t recovered fully, or your doctors are still looking for ways to help you, you probably shouldn’t settle your claim yet.
For instance, if you’re considering having surgery to fix a neck or a back injury, it’s usually best to have that surgery first before settling your case. And this is because we don’t yet know the outcome of that surgery. If it’s successful, great, but if not and you need a second surgery or other treatment, the person who caused your crash is responsible for all of that harm, unless there’s only a small insurance policy and you have severe injuries, a quick settlement is probably not a good idea.
For instance, if there’s only $25,000 of insurance and you’ve broken both of your legs in the crash, well then you’re entitled to all of that money and there’s no particular reason to wait.
But what if you have recovered fully from your injuries and you’re looking to settle your case, is it time?
Well, that depends. The things we’ll be looking to find out are:
- how much insurance is there?
- How much of that money has the insurance company actually put on the table?
- How long will it take to get your case to trial?
- How much will it cost to get your case to trial?
- Do you need the money for living expenses or medical care?
Each of these factors will play a role in deciding when is the right time to settle if ever.
So your takeaway from today is this, you only get one to resolve your case, whether by settlement or by verdict. And unless there’s only a little bit of money for you, you shouldn’t settle until you know the full extent of your injuries. And once you do know the full extent of your injuries, there are a number of factors that go into figuring out whether you should settle at all.
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