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Should You Sue or Accept a Personal Injury Settlement?
If you have been hurt in an accident, such as an automobile accident, and you are not at fault, then you may want to look into personal injury litigation. The purpose of filing such a lawsuit is to seek personal injury compensation to pay for any expenses you have incurred due to your injury, such as medical costs or loss of wages due to time off from work. A lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and negotiate a personal injury settlement with the party responsible for your injuries.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
To determine whether you should accept a personal injury settlement or file a lawsuit, it is best to first understand the litigation process.
First, when it comes to most personal injury cases, your personal injury attorney will probably not be negotiating directly with the person responsible for your accident. Rather, he or she will probably be communicating with an insurance company representative or a defense lawyer.
This is because when it comes to auto accidents, slip-and-fall cases and other common types of personal injury cases, those who may be at fault for the injury have insurance coverage. In such situations, it is usually the insurance company that is obligated to pay for the injuries.
The first step your attorney will take in a personal injury case is to send a demand letter to the opposing party. The letter will outline your case. This outline will include a description of your injuries, details about the accident, and why you and your attorney believe it is the fault of the insured. It will then list a settlement amount.
The opposing party will then usually respond with a counteroffer. This personal injury settlement offer will be lower than the initial amount. These negotiations will continue until there is an agreed-upon settlement amount. If there is no agreed-upon settlement amount, then you and your attorney may file a formal lawsuit against the party you believe to be responsible for paying for the injury.
Once a case goes to trial, it can take a long time and cost a lot of money until it is resolved.
Personal Injury Settlement or Litigation
The costs of your medical bills and your lost wages will constitute the majority of the settlement amount your attorney will ask the opposing party for. In addition, your attorney may seek other money in the form of punitive damages, designed to punish the party at fault.
If the other party outright accepts your personal injury settlement offer, then your dispute will be resolved. This may come as a relief, because a trial is not an easy or fast process. This is why, much of the time, it is in your best interest to settle.
However, if the opposing party responds with a counteroffer, you may have a difficult decision on your hands. If the counteroffer is less than your original offer but still within a range that can cover your medical expenses and lost wages, you may want to accept the settlement offer. If, however, the offer is considerably lower, then you might want to discuss with your attorney the prospect of going to trial.
If the settlement offer is obviously not enough to compensate for the severity of your injuries and loss of income, you will probably want to take your case to trial if your attorney has reviewed the evidence in your case and feels strongly about your chances of success.