This article will focus on determining when is the right time to settle your personal injury file. The answer to this question is typically a case-by-case decision, but there are some things to think about when determining whether it’s the right time to settle.
First thing to consider is from a legal standpoint, how good is your case? If it’s obvious that the other party was at fault that caused the car accident, or that the injury was attributable to your work, that’s obviously an important thing to consider. A strong case gives you leverage and a weak case dictates that you might want to cut your losses and settle early. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your case with your attorney is extremely important.
Secondly, it’s important to wait until you are done medically treating for your injury before you talk settlement, especially if you have a strong case. Settling prior to the conclusion of your medical treatment is very risky because once you settle your case, it’s almost impossible to re-open it. As such, you want to make sure you are fully informed on the lasting effects of your injury prior to reaching any settlement.
Third, understand the policy limits of the insurance company. In a personal injury case, the liability carrier has a policy limit and will not pay over that limit. In a workers’ compensation claim, there are only certain benefits an injured worker can receive. As such, there is a cap on the workers’ compensation carrier’s exposure. Understanding these limits will help you make an educating decision whether to settle or not.
Fourth, have you tried mediating the case? For those who do not know what mediation is, it’s a process where the parties bring in a neutral third party who is very knowledgeable in personal injury to help try and facilitate a settlement. Mediators typically familiarize themselves with the file and prior to mediation and point out each side’s strengths and weaknesses. Mediation can be very helpful in getting the parties to bridge the gap and come to an agreement.
Lastly, when considering to settle or not, it’s important to understand that if the parties can’t reach an agreement, the matter goes to trial. Once that happens, the outcome is out of your hands. Instead, the decision will be determined by a judge or jury.
Please send any request for topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Although we cannot give you legal advice through the column, we can provide some general information that may be helpful for you to know. Our purpose is to educate and we hope that you can take something new away from this column each time you read it.