You need compensation after you’ve been injured in an accident. After all, the financial ramifications of your injuries can be significant, including extensive incurred and anticipated medical expenses as well as lost wages and lost earnings capacity. You should also be compensated for other damages that are harder to calculate, such as your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish.
The best way to seek out this compensation is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. As you do so, you’re probably going to be offered a settlement. Given that these offers usually promise you quick compensation and resolution to your case, which can certainly be appealing, you might be tempted to snatch it up. But you shouldn’t immediately jump on the first offer that’s pushed in your direction.
How to analyze a personal injury settlement offer
If you’re offered a settlement, you should be diligent in analyzing it so that you are certain that you’re making the decision that’s right for you and your family. To do so, you’ll want to pay especially close attention to the following:
- The monetary value of your injuries: It sounds uncaring, but before you accept a settlement offer, you need to think of your injuries in terms of compensation. Sure, this means tallying up the money you’ve already spent on medical bills and items necessary for your recovery, but you’ll also want to calculate your lost wages and figure out how much money you’ll need moving forward to pay for your expected medical care.
You also have to try to put a monetary value on the non-economic damages that we mentioned above, such as pain and suffering. This can be tough to do, but if you can paint a clear picture of how your injuries have negatively impacted your life, you’ll stand a better chance of recovering what you’re owed.
- Evidence of comparative fault: By accepting a settlement, you agree to forego litigation and the possibility of recovering more compensation. However, going to trial can be risky, especially if there’s evidence showing that you were partially at fault for the accident. This is because the judgment you receive in your case can be reduced if you’re found to be partially at fault for the wreck. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully analyze the evidence at hand so that you know how risky it’d be to go to trial as well as your likelihood of success if you move your case in that direction.
- What the experts say: If causation, the extent of your damages or both are drawn into question, you’ll want to know how the experts are going to testify. You may have your own medical professional or accident reconstruction expert ready to testify on your behalf, but you have to view those opinions in light of how the defense’s experts will testify. This may give you a clearer sense of how your case will look if you present it in court.
Know which legal strategy is right for you
Don’t let yourself be duped into accepting a settlement that’s disadvantageous to you and your future. To avoid that outcome, you should take a holistic approach to your case, not only gathering evidence and crafting legal arguments to support a finding of liability and the extent of your damages but also to anticipate and fight back against aggressive defenses.
Once you have your legal strategy down, you’ll be able to better gauge in which direction you should drive you case. That way, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re doing everything you can to obtain the best outcome possible according to the facts. An attorney who has a track record of success in these matters may be able to help you reach that outcome.