It’s no secret that a majority of personal injury cases are resolved outside of court, usually through a settlement that allows the parties to work out their dispute without the need to go in front of a jury. But if you’re party to a personal injury case, how do you know when to settle?
What Is a Settlement, and How Quickly Do Settlements Happen?
Simply put, a settlement is an agreement between the parties that resolves a legal dispute without the need to go to trial. A settlement agreement sets out the terms by which the responsible party will compensate the victim for their losses; in turn, the agreement resolves the claims against those responsible parties.
It is important to note that there is no hard-and-fast rule for how quickly a settlement may be reached in a personal injury case. Whether and when a settlement agreement is signed will depend largely on the facts of the case, the full amount of damages involved, the number of parties and their respective liability, and the willingness of the insurance company to negotiate. Some simpler cases may be settled in a matter of just weeks or months, while it’s common for complicated personal injury claims to take years before a settlement is reached. Negotiations often go back and forth between the parties and their insurance companies, sometimes requiring several drafts of a settlement agreement before resolving the dispute.
What Are Some Factors to Consider When Weighing Whether to Settle a Claim?
First, consider the complexity of your personal injury case, including the laws involved and the unique facts upon which your claim is based. There are many things that can influence whether a settlement will be favorable, such as whether the facts of your case are complicated, whether liability is clear or in question, whether there are multiple parties involved, and whether the laws of your jurisdiction work in favor of your claims.
Consider also the willingness of the other parties and their insurance companies to find a compromise. Some parties and insurers may be more willing to engage in settlement discussions than others.
The full extent of your damages, along with the medical care and treatment you will need in order to recover, is also an important factor in settlement negotiations. If your injuries were complicated and costly, it will likely mean a more complex road to settlement discussions, and the more extensive your injuries and damages were, the more likely it will be that the insurance company will choose to fight your claim.
When weighing whether to settle your claim, you should carefully review the availability and strength of the evidence in your case, including the availability of witnesses and documentation of your injuries and damages.
Also consider the length of time it will take to resolve the matter, along with the costs of litigation versus settlement. Generally, a settlement will be resolved faster than litigation, and in many cases, litigation can be much more costly. However, as with anything, there may be trade-offs: in many cases, a settlement amount may end up being smaller than what you would have received in a jury award — on the other hand, settling the case will give you much more control over the process and proceedings.
Finally, consider the resources you have at your disposal, and whether they encourage settlement at this point in your claim. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can go over your rights and options and advise you regarding the possibilities — and the pros and cons — of settlement in your specific case.
Insurance companies most often have considerable legal and financial resources, making them more likely to fight your claim, and their goal is to minimize payout to you as much as possible. An experienced attorney can level the playing field, negotiating with large insurers on your behalf.
How Can The Francis Firm Help With Your Personal Injury Claim?
It may be daunting to decide whether you should settle or take your personal injury claim to court, but a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can give you sound legal advice and explain your options. They will carefully consider all of the factors, circumstances, and facts that are unique to your case, applying the law and assessing your damages accurately, so that you can request a fair and reasonable settlement.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will inform you of your legal rights and options, and we will work with you to make sure you receive the medical care you need. If the insurance company refuses to offer full value in settlement, our trial-tested Texas personal injury lawyers are always ready to take them to court. Reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation initial legal consultation online or by calling 817-617-8639. With our office in Southlake, we serve communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Tarrant County and Dallas County, and other Texas communities.