When should I settle my case?
At some point in most personal injury cases, a settlement offer will be made. Sometimes, these offers will be so low that they can and should be dismissed out of hand. In other cases, though, the offers are legitimate. It’s important for the individual bringing the suit to consider the circumstances in which he or she would take a settlement offer. Below are just a few reasons why you would want to take a settlement, each of which depends on the circumstances of your injury and your particular case.
When the Price is Right
There is a certain amount of money you need to help make sure you can move forward with your life. In many cases, the best time to take a settlement offer is win the other side makes an offer that is at or above the amount in question. When the price is right, you’ll end up saving yourself time and money by simply taking the offer as it is. Always go into a negotiations knowing what your rock bottom settlement option is and be willing to walk away with the money at a pre-determined point. Sometimes, the amount you get in negotiations will be satisfactory to all involved.
When the Outcome is in Doubt
It’s always important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If there is a chance that you could lose in front of a jury, it’s often better to hedge your bets by taking a reasonable settlement. There’s always a chance that even a great case could go south when working with a jury, but there’s something to be said for moving forward in those cases. If you or your personal injury lawyer believe that there’s a good chance the jury will find for your opponent, it may be safer for you to take a settlement offer instead of rolling the dice.
When You Need Privacy
It’s also important to remember that a settlement will usually mean that the details of your case won’t become a matter of public record. Often, person injury lawyers will recommend clients take a settlement if their clients are afraid of the specifics of an incident reaching the public eye. In fact, you can even make confidentiality a part of your your settlement agreement.
When You Need the Money
It may also be important to you take a settlement when you are in dire needs of funds. While you might believe you can win when you go to trial, that won’t necessarily help you if your unable to keep up with your medical bills or pay your mortgage. As unfortunate as the truth may be, some plaintiffs are forced to take sub-par offers out of necessity. Only take these offers if you are in extreme circumstances and even then if there is no other way to move forward without taking the offer.
When Money is the Major Concern
Finally, it’s important to consider taking a settlement when you are only looking at money as a primary motivating factor. If you are trying to hold someone responsible or trying to make a major social change, a settlement will always be a bad idea. Settlements are great when you simply want everything to be over, but they don’t provide any other value to you as a plaintiff. If all you need to do is make sure that your bills are covered, it’s a good idea for you to start looking at reasonable settlement offers as soon as possible.
You should never feel like you are being forced to settle a case. If an offer is made, it should always be discussed in front of your attorney. Don’t let yourself be bullied by the other side or by your own fears. Take time to consider the offer, discuss it with a professional, and figure out if it will really fulfill your needs. Settlements can be a good thing, but only if they help you walk away with your dignity and your finances intact. If you can’t get what you need, always make sure to work with an attorney who will fight to help you.