Personal Injury Claims: Settling vs. Going to Trial

You have just received your personal injury settlement offer. Do you accept it and settle or go to trial? You need to consider many factors when making that decision. Even if you believe it is enough to cover all your expenses, run it by a personal injury lawyer from Max Meyers Law PLLC before accepting.

What factors should I consider?

While there is no easy formula to decide what settlement offer to accept or decline, there are many factors that you need to consider when evaluating an offer. These include:

  • The prognosis for your recovery: Has your doctor been able to give you a close idea of what the extent of your injuries are?
  • The likely long-term costs and care that will be required: Are there any complications from your injuries that require ongoing care?
  • Lost wages: Did you consider past, present, and future lost wages?
  • Lost opportunities and non-medical costs: Have you considered these and landed on a tangible amount?
  • Pain and suffering: Did you consider the emotional effect your injuries have had on you and your family?                                                  

Answering these questions should lead you to a minimum acceptable settlement. Keep in mind that the goal of a settlement is not to punish the responsible party, but to help make you whole again. Always check with a lawyer before signing anything; he can help ensure you considered everything.

Risks and Rewards of Taking Your Case to Trial

While a settlement is a guaranteed resolution of claims, going to trial is a gamble. And as with every gamble, there are significant risks and rewards.

Settling means that the case comes to an end and parties release each other from future or further claims. This may be an appealing option because it provides a guaranteed amount of money much sooner than a trial. Just remember that accepting a settlement means that you cannot go back later and ask for more money if there are complications you did not consider.

When considering taking your case to trial, there are a few factors you need to take into account:

  • How much risk are you willing to take? In other words, even if the potential for a greater recovery exists after a trial, is the stress and waiting worth it to you? Can you wait or are you in dire financial straits?
  • Is the settlement offer reasonable and fair? The insurance company regularly offers a low figure in hopes that you will not consider everything listed above and just accept the offer. Remember that a trial costs both parties, but you may receive a much higher payout if you take the risk. Run the offer by a lawyer before signing.
  • Is the insurer attempting to blame you for your injuries? Is the insurer refusing to pay because it says you were at fault for your injuries? If so, trial might be your best option.
  • What is the likelihood of future problems that may not be known yet? Did you fully consider all costs and potential complications?

If you think that all of this sounds rather overwhelming, you are not wrong. That is why leaving the negotiation of a settlement and potential lawsuit is best left to a professional. Remember to never sign anything before running it by a lawyer. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC for help today at 425-399-7000.

Max Meyers
Connect with me
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.