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When should I settle my case?

31 Oct 2016

If you have been hurt in a car accident or any other type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation. In some cases, you will be granted a financial award by a jury at the end of a formal trial. However, it may make sense to settle the case long before a jury makes a decision. When is it in your best interest to settle?

You Can’t Wait Any Longer to Receive Compensation

A personal injury case can take months or even years to resolve. There may be months of settlement talks or other pretrial activity that occurs before the case is heard in court. From there, a trial and subsequent appeals can mean additional time that passes with no clear answer as to when you are going to get the money that you deserve. In this scenario, it may be a good idea to settle the case, get the compensation that you need to pay bills and move on with your life. Of course, this assumes that you get a reasonable offer that can help you take care of yourself and your family now and in the future.

You May Have a Hard Time Proving Your Case

There may be times when you can’t prove your case in court because evidence is missing or is suppressed. In some cases, a witness may refuse to give testimony in court or may pass away before he or she is able to do so. If the video from a surveillance camera is grainy or there is no eyewitness to back up your version of events, it may be difficult for a jury to agree that you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence. Therefore, it may be best to settle the case as opposed to spending time and money in a potentially losing effort.

You Were Partially Responsible for the Accident

If there is any reason to believe that you may have been partially or fully responsible for an accident, it may not be worth it to pursue formal legal action. Instead, it may be in your best interest to simply settle the case for a lump sum payment and hope that it is enough to pay for your medical bills or other costs that you have incurred. While a judge or jury may be sympathetic to your plight, it doesn’t mean that they can award damages if you are not legally entitled to them.

The Other Side Gives You Everything That You Wanted

There are times when the party responsible for your injuries is guilty and knows it. Therefore, that person or entity may give you everything that you want in a settlement to make sure that the case stays quiet and goes away quickly. Ideally, you will have your attorney review any settlement that you are offered to ensure that it is fair, meets your needs and gives you all the damages that you could be entitled to under the law. Assuming that this is the case, there is no reason to delay accepting the offer and putting the focus back on getting your life back together.

The Other Side Is Aggressively Defending Their Rights

Despite the evidence and the law being on your side, some defendants will instruct their lawyers to spend as much time and money on their case as possible. This generally occurs when one side has more money to spend than the other. The goal is to wait the plaintiff out until he or she doesn’t have the time or money to pursue the case any further. While not ideal, it may be possible to come to a fair agreement even if it is less than what you may otherwise be entitled to. Again, your lawyer will advise you of your rights and help you make an informed and educated decision before accepting any offer.

Settling a case may be beneficial both to the party who has been hurt and to the party who caused the injury. For the injured victim, it can end the case quickly without foregoing what he or she is entitled to, which may make it easier to pay medical bills or make up for lost wages or lost future earnings. For the responsible person or business owner, he or she can get out from under the black cloud of lingering litigation and move on with his or her personal and professional lives.

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