Personal injury claims involve physical injuries and the costs of medical care to treat them. Physical injuries interfere with work and income; if you are a business owner or self-employed, then an injury can reduce or stop your business activities. The advice of experienced personal injury lawyers is vital for every injured person.
Injuries to the body can be painful, require care and medications, and cause emotional suffering. Injured clients may worry as to when and if they will recover and whether they will have limitations. A personal injury case also involves impacts on family and business associates.
When a North Carolina Law Firm files a claim for compensation, it seeks to recover for the physical damage, economic losses, and emotional suffering resulting from a negligently caused injury. When an insurance company makes a quick offer of settlement, plaintiffs and their lawyers must consider the pros and cons of accepting such an offer. The attorney must advise on the tempting quick offer of settlement.
The Reasons to Accept a Quick Settlement
A version of the folk wisdom suggests that a firm offer is better the guessing about possible higher amounts. A client can reasonably conclude that he or she is better off with the certainty of an amount than going on for months. For example, a client may have urgent needs, influential advice from family or friends, or a lack of experience in valuing the impact of money damages. The attorney must make sure that the client understands his and her opinion of the value of the case in settlement and likely jury award.
– Economic Relief
Settlement provides money for the injured client to compensate for losses, pain, and suffering. A settlement can be a positive or life-changing event for a client and his or her family. When the offer is within a range of the attorney’s professional opinion of the case, then the client should seriously consider accepting.
The costs of going to trial can be substantial and there is the ever present risk of a finding that will not be as generous. An offer that is close to the attorney’s valuation of the case is another opportunity for negotiation. When the difference may be small, insurance companies can also consider raising the settlement as a better choice than the risk of trial and a higher jury award.
– Time to Move On
A client may experience a type of exhaustion of their willingness to continue pursuing a case. In such cases, the attorney should value the wishes of the client. The attorney’s duty is to ensure a full and clear understanding of the benefits of continuing to a jury trial.
The Reasons to Reject a Quick Settlement
– The Offer Is too Low
Insurance companies often make an initial low offer of settlement after reviewing the case and finding likely liability for their insured party. These offers can come before the client hires an attorney and has advice of counsel. Insurers will make early and low offers to the attorney with a view towards a quick payday for the client.
– Medical Record Is Incomplete
Economic losses and medical expenses are important parts of the claim for damages. When medical treatment is ongoing, it maybe difficult to summarize the amount of costs. Further, the record should clearly show the likely need for future medical care. An attorney may decide to wait to consider settlement until the medical record progresses to a further point.
– Jury Awards Are Higher than Settlements
Juries leave records of awards, and attorneys understand the potential of proceeding to trial. The attorney works with the client to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the case and the benefits of moving to trial for a jury award or settlement. Attorneys must objectively assess the case and study the strengths and weaknesses.
– High Settlements Come Close to Trial
Insurance companies use settlements to control costs and reduce the possibility of much larger jury awards. The pressure increases as trial dates approach to control the outcome. A common insurance approach will reserve their best settlement offers until after discovery and when the trial date nears. The best offer may only change an existing offer slightly.
Seeking the Best Outcome
The best outcome depends on the case, the client, and the attorney’s judgment. To an experienced North Carolina law firm, each case is unique, and the settlement process needs a case-by-case approach. Clients must work closely with their personal injury lawyers when considering offers of settlement. The attorney must assess the strength of the case and the time and expense required for trial. The client’s wishes factor heavily into the situation.
A jury trial, verdict, and award are the end results of a personal injury claim process. The likely jury award is the measuring stick for the injured client and the insurance company. The attorney must constantly urge larger settlement because the jury award could be much higher. The insurance company measures its best result by settling below the likely amount a jury might award.
Settlements offer certainty and a conclusion to the case. A settlement can be a full, fair, and just resolution of the case without the risk of trial. The trust between the client and attorney is essential when deciding to accept a settlement or proceed to trial. Low settlement offers make the choice easy. Higher settlements require the advice and assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Often the serious offers of settlement come after discovery and in the period before the start of the trial. An attorney can build a case towards this period with confidence that if the offer is not sufficient, there will be a day in court.
If you need help assessing the options open to you, the best place to start is with our free attorney consultation. Meet one on one with an experienced accident / injury lawyer either in your home, at our office location or via Skype/Zoom, and we’ll go over your case and present you with options for moving forward. This is a free, no obligation service – Call Us Today on 1-800-ACCIDENT or contact us here.