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What you should consider when deciding whether or not to accept a settlement offer…

During the course of most personal injury cases, the opposing party will make a settlement offer.  In most cases, the opposing party will start with an offer that is lower than what they are really willing to pay.    Settlement negotiations generally involve some back and forth between the involved parties to see where the opposing party genuinely stands on the case.   The defendant of course wants to pay the least amount of money possible to resolve the case.   Your attorney will advocate for you to try to get you the highest amount of compensation possible for your injuries.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to accept an offer is solely up to the client.   When I convey an offer to my client, I do like to give them my opinion and some guidance on whether I think the offer is fair.   Here are some things that you should consider when trying to make the final choice:

  1. Would you be satisfied if you accepted the offer?
  2. Are there any particular factors in your life, financial or otherwise, that should play a part in whether you should accept a settlement or whether you can afford to wait a few more months or even a few more years before concluding your case?
  3. Are you willing to put the time into the case if you choose to decline the offer – for things such as interrogatories, depositions and potentially testifying at a trial?
  4. Do you feel that the offer is fair and reasonable based on the type of injury you suffered?
  5. Do you have any prior accidents or claims that may play an adverse role in your case if it were to go to trial?
  6. Have you asked your attorney about any further expenses that may be incurred if you choose to decline the settlement (sometimes the expenses can outweigh any slight increase in the settlement offer – making it smarter to accept the lower offer and not have to incur further expenses)
  7. Would you prefer a known outcome to your case  (the settlement offer) or would you prefer to have your case decided by a jury of your peers or a judge?

Think these things through before making your final decision.   If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your lawyer for more advice or information.

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