Considering all the pressure you are under after a motor vehicle accident or other serious injury, it might be tempting to take the first settlement offer that is handed to you. In many ways, it can be a lot easier to simply go along with what the insurance company wants. But what is best for a defendant’s insurer is not usually what is best for you. Here are five reasons you should wait before you take a settlement:
- You can consult with an attorney
- One of the most important things you can do for yourself after an accident, legally and financially speaking, is to obtain legal representation. Insurance companies do not need to wait for you to get a lawyer before they start putting pressure on you to settle, and they are always hoping you will cave to pressure before you have a chance to speak to a lawyer. After all, it is much easier to negotiate with a regular person who knows nothing about the law than to deal with an attorney that has the knowledge and experience to fight back.
- You can collect evidence and testimony
- In the early aftermath of an accident, no one really has an in-depth picture of what happened. The physical evidence and witness testimony surrounding an accident can take a surprisingly long time to collect and process, meaning that an insurance company is probably making you an offer for a settlement long before you or they have a clear picture of what happened. Taking time before you settle can give you a chance to obtain evidence and testimony, which can bolster your cse.
- You can explore all your legal options
- Personal injury lawsuits, such as those that happen in motor vehicle accidents, can be long and complicated affairs. This is by design, as both the plaintiff and the defendant have a number of legal rights they can access if they choose. Insurance companies generally do not want you exploring all of your legal options, however, and getting you to settle early means you close off many of those options before you have a chance to even consider them.
- You can get a bigger settlement
- Of course, one of the biggest reasons to refrain from settling early is to get yourself a bigger settlement at the end of the process. Collecting evidence, deposing witnesses, and exercising legal rights all give you bargaining chips to negotiate a bigger settlement. If you settle before you even know what you have to work with, you may wind up with a much smaller settlement than you would have gotten if you simply persevered.
- You can go to trial if necessary
- Cases that go to trial are shockingly rare, these days, with an estimated 90 to 95% of all lawsuits settling before they go to trial. However, taking a settlement is not mandatory, and if you think it would be best, you can go all the way through to a trial. Having an attorney with experience handling trial cases then becomes essential, to maximize your chances of winning your litigation.
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact an attorney to understand your legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Zlotolow & Associates can bring more than two decades of experience to your case. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts. To schedule a consultation, you can call us toll-free at (886) 800-0092, or you can visit our contact page.