Why You Should Think About Settling Your Injury Claim
Your attorney couldn’t make it clearer. You are a bit taken aback. After all, you were badly hurt. The accident was definitely not your fault. Why should you even consider settling your injury claim?
First, let’s lead with a cautionary advice. It’s really not a good idea to settle directly with the insurance company. The company may sound like it has your best interests at heart. Frankly, insurance adjusters are expected to keep claim costs down. Before you agree to settle any injury case, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
Most Cases Settle Out of Court
The New Jersey courts report that the majority of civil cases settle. Often, there is no need for your attorney to even file a lawsuit. You should know that it is a gamble to take your case to trial.
Here’s the first thing you might consider if you plan on passing on a settlement offer. There really is no guarantee that a jury is going to award you more damages than your lawyer was able to negotiate for you. Even worse? You could be faced with a “no cause” verdict. That means you will recover nothing. Surely, that’s a frightening thought.
Why You Might be Hesitant to Settle
The New Jersey Law Journal publishes an annual listing of the top personal settlement awards and jury verdicts on an annual basis. Unfortunately, they are a subscription-based publication, and you may not be able to read a breakdown of the cases that brought big money. We’ll do you a favor by detailing some of the damages, without even considering the causes of action:
- Woman’s case settled for $18.5 million. She had both legs and a hand amputated.
- The jury awarded more than $10 million for the death of a young police officer who died as a result of an accident with an individual driving while under the influence.
- A young man was severely injured by out of control semi-trailer. The case settled for $7 million.
You may read these verdicts and settlements and wonder if you should hold out for higher settlement offers. The reality is that many factors go into damage awards and money that the insurance company is willing to give on its own.
There are some questions you need to answer before proceeding with a civil suit. Whose fault was the accident? Did that person have a duty to you of any kind? What were the injuries? What is the life expectancy of the person who was hurt? Have they suffered a diminished earnings capacity? If the case involves wrongful death, who are the dependents? Those answers should determine the result of your case.
Insurance May be an Issue
There are also considerations regarding insurance. For instance, if the claim involves a work-related accident, there are few times you can pursue a case outside of workers’ compensation court. An example of this would be a co-worker was at fault in an automobile accident where you were injured as a passenger. Because you weren’t behind the wheel, you cannot pursue a civil case.
Limitations on insurance may also be an issue. Most defendants have specified amounts of coverage. This may impact a number of damages available to you.
In some automobile cases, you may discover that you have restrictions on the types of claims that obligate insurance companies to pay you. Take a look at our article regarding the difference between zero and verbal thresholds.
Some Reasons You Should Settle Your Case
We’ve explained some of the reasons for settling your case. However, let’s break them down a bit further:
- Your injuries may be limited
- Liability could be unclear
- Filing lawsuits and discovery cost money
- Expert witnesses expect compensation
- Time to put the whole ordeal behind you
- Stress, stress, stress and more stress
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have decades of experiencing counseling clients on both the advantages and disadvantages of settling their case. We can help you. Contact us to see how we can work on your behalf.