Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm
When you’re involved in a personal injury claim, your most pressing question is, “should I settle?” There’s no straightforward answer. It depends on the circumstances and how you want to move forward.
It’s often helpful to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on whether an offer is fair. It’s best not to accept an offer unless you’re confident it will cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether you should settle your claim or not. This is an important decision—one that could impact your family for years.
Many accident victims try to deal with the insurance company themselves. You can do this, and you might even receive a settlement. But without an attorney, you’re less likely to receive a settlement or get as much compensation as injury victims with legal representation.
In fact, Nolo recently surveyed personal injury claimants and found 51% received an insurance payout without a lawyer, while 91% received a payout with a lawyer.
An important part of your settlement is compensation for medical expenses, including for treatment you need in the future. You shouldn’t settle a claim unless you’re confident you know all your medical expenses.
If you haven’t recovered from your injuries fully, or to the greatest extent possible, then you might not have all the information you need. Do you have years of doctor’s visits, prescription medications, or physical therapy ahead? Only once you reach your maximum recovery can you be confident that you know how much your previous medical treatments cost and how much medical care you’ll need.
Your settlement should include compensation for non-economic damages too, like your pain and suffering, mental distress, and reduced quality of life. Your non-economic damages are particularly important when you’ve gone through a long, painful recovery or suffered a permanent disability or disfigurement.
Translating non-economic damages to an amount of money is challenging, though. A personal injury lawyer will have experience doing this. To evaluate your non-economic damages, they will consider some standard factors and research the outcomes of similar cases.
Not all personal injury claims require filing a lawsuit. But in many cases, filing suit helps you pursue maximum compensation.
First, being willing to go to court shows an insurance company you’re not going to back down from a fight. Second, you collect more information about what happened and why through the discovery process. This can strengthen your claim against the other party.
Nolo found injury victims received higher compensation on average if they were willing to file a lawsuit. Those who filed or threatened to file a lawsuit received an average $45,500, while injury victims who took no steps toward a lawsuit received an average $23,000.
Whether or not you should settle might depend on whether you’ve negotiated the current offer. If you’ve gone back and forth with an insurance company to reach the current amount, then you might feel it’s enough. But if this is a first-time offer, think closely before accepting.
Most initial settlement offers from an insurance company are low. Nolo looked at this issue too. Injury victims who accepted the first offer received an average of $11,800. Victims who negotiated received an average of $42,500.
Most personal injury cases settle for many reasons, including that it’s often better to finalize a settlement than for either party to go through a long trial. But not all settlement offers are better than going to trial.
This is particularly true if there’s a chance a jury will award a higher amount of compensation (though we can never guarantee what a jury will decide). Your lawyer can offer advice based on years of experience as to whether accepting a settlement offer is a better idea than going to court or vice versa.
When you want to settle an injury claim with an insurance company, we recommend you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. This isn’t a process you can rush, despite feeling impatient for it to be over or worried about medical bills. The best thing to do might be to wait for a full recovery or take your claim to court.
Kemmy Law Firm is a family of trial lawyers with over 50 years of combined experience. We tackle accident claims and deal with insurers daily. Throughout it all, our priority is reaching the best possible outcomes for our clients. We’ll never force you to settle, but we’ll be able to tell you when an offer is fair, in your best interests, and a better option than going to trial.
To learn more about pursuing a personal injury settlement, contact Kemmy Law Firm online or call (210) 735-2233. We offer free consultations, and there are no upfront fees. We only receive our fees if we recover compensation.
Get a free consultation. We do not charge up-front fees, and you owe nothing unless you recover compensation.
When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.