If you have been injured in a car accident and are considering a lawsuit, it’s likely that the insurance company responsible for your compensation will want to settle your personal injury lawsuit out of court, rather than pay to defend the case in court. But should you settle? “Settling” often has a negative connotation, but in this case, it may be a good idea: you won’t have to wait on a lengthy court trial or run the risk of getting nothing if you lose. A settlement is a quicker way to resolve the issue that ensures you will receive some compensation for your injuries.
There are two kinds of damages covered in personal injury lawsuits: general damages and special damages. General damages encompass things like quality of life issues, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering. Special damages are more easily quantifiable: this is compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, lost opportunities, or other economic losses that occurred as a result of the accident. If you are considering accepting a settlement offer for your personal injury lawsuit, you should make sure that both general damages and special damages are accounted for in your settlement. This can be difficult to do on your own, so you may consider hiring a personal injury lawyer – these lawyers usually work under a “contingency fee” which means that they are paid a portion of your settlement rather than an up-front fee.
You can always reject a settlement offer – however, if you do reject an offer and the case goes to court, you may lose the trial and receive no compensation at all. You should discuss your options carefully with your attorney. Usually, if a settlement offer is not agreeable to the claimant, they will have the opportunity to make a counter-offer that details the reasons why the initial settlement offer is not enough. Hopefully, the insurance company will accept the counter-offer or suggest a second offer of its own. If it is impossible to come to an agreement outside of court, you may progress to a trial.