What is a good settlement offer?
It is very common for victims of a personal injury caused by other individual’s fault to get a settlement offer before going to court. In fact, around 95% of personal injury cases are settled before court trial. (1) It turns out that there is more than one good reason for this – you will save time, energy and money. However, simply because you have a chance to avoid a long trial and you have an offer for a settlement doesn’t mean that you should accept it right away. Namely, there are situations when the settlement offer is not fair or reasonable and some people still accept these offers.
One of the best ways to determine whether a settlement offer is good or not is to talk to an experienced attorney. These professionals know that every case is different, but if they have experience, they have probably handled a case similar to your case in the past. In other words, they will know what a good settlement looks like. But, if you want to stay on the safe side and be sure that the settlement is reasonable and acceptable, you should analyze the elements of the offer.
Analyze the damages
What kind of injury do you have? For instance, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you might have experienced head and back injuries which are among the most serious personal injuries. On the other hand, there are situations when people experience soft tissue injuries and these injuries usually don’t have a significant impact on people’s everyday life. So, the extent of the injury and its effect on your life and your ability to conduct everyday task should determine the value of the settlement.
Check the liability
Is the defendant completely responsible for the accident that led to the injury? In this case, the settlement offer should include their consent to pay for all the damages to the plaintiff. If the accident is caused (partially) by your actions then you should expect to settle for less.
Calculate your wage loss
Did you miss work due to this accident? There are many cases when accidents like this prevent people from working or they have to work on less demanding tasks. As a result of that people lose wages and the settlement offer must include a part in which the defendant is held responsible for this loss. If you have missed a lot of work, the settlement must be higher.
What kind of insurance coverage does the defendant have? Is there worker’s compensation involved? In case they have a policy for $15,000 then you should expect a settlement that doesn’t exceed $15.000.
Take the attorney fees into consideration
When you get the settlement offer, you should not forget that part of the money goes to the attorney. As a matter of fact, they usually take 33% of the settlement amount. (2) Of course, they will get this sum only if they are able to win the case, but you still have to check whether you will be satisfied with the offer once this amount of money is deducted.