There are a lot of different parts to the average personal injury case. At the beginning of the lawsuit, you may receive an offer to settle the matter. In fact, the large majority of personal injury cases settle before the trial. Thus, you may want to give serious consideration to any settlement offers you receive. Learn how to evaluate a settlement offer to determine whether to accept it.
Offers Before the Claim Is Submitted
As mentioned, settlement offers occur prior to a potential trial. However, we should take it back a step further and mention that offers may occur before the claim itself. Just how exactly is this possible? In many cases an attorney or claimant may provide notice to the tortfeasor regarding the intention to file a claim. In this case, the future defendant may decide to settle the matter before a claim is even filed. This can be a quick way of resolving the case, however it comes with some caveats. If your injury turns out to be more severe than you originally thought, you may accept an offer that does not cover all of your damages. Therefore, it pays to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney before taking any type of action at all.
A Look at the Offer Maker
One thing to think about is where the offer is coming from. In some situations, the defendant's insurance carrier will provide an offer. When evaluating such an offer, you need to think about how much compensation is being provided versus the limits on the policy. If the offer is way below the insurance limits, you may want to push the case forward to obtain a higher award for damages. It is also important to find out if your case is subject to damage caps as set by the state of Utah. Of course, you should discuss this situation with an experienced lawyer to understand where you truly stand.
The decision making process is a little different if you are dealing with an indigent defendant. Such a defendant is unlikely to have any assets to satisfy an award of damages following a trial. At best, you may end up with a judgment that is nearly impossible to enforce. Under these circumstances, it may be wiser to accept any reasonable offer that the defendant makes.
Making a Final Decision
As you can see, there are many factors that come into play when you receive an offer. Overall, you'll have to decide how much of your time and energy can go into pursuing the matter. For some, accepting a settlement is the right choice. For others, seeking out justice through a trial is a better option. In either case, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action.
To get more information about your options in a personal injury matter, contact us at TR Spencer & Associates.