Did you know that most personal injury claims are resolved outside of court without the parties ever having to step in front of a judge or jury? In many cases, claims involving preventable accidents reach settlements before lawsuits are filed. In a negligence claim, the opposing parties will have different interests. The insurance company for the defendant will try to settle a claim for the lowest amount possible, while the victim will want to recover the maximum compensation possible. By reaching a settlement outside of court, both parties can reduce their risk of receiving an unfavorable decision from a jury. Since reaching a mutually agreed-upon settlement allows the parties to avoid the uncertainties involved in a jury trial, most personal injury claims are resolved in this manner. So if you have suffered injuries in an accident, it’s important to learn how to know if a settlement offer is fair.
How to Know If a Settlement Offer Is Fair
The value of a personal injury claim varies depending on the facts and circumstances of what happened. Many accident claims are settled because one party will admit liability. When that happens, the remaining issue is how much compensation the negligent party and his or her insurance company will pay the victim. The types of damages that might be recoverable in an accident claim include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage losses
- Property damage
- Reduced ability to enjoy life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
In general, the more severe the injuries and medical expenses, the higher the claim’s value will be.
The Factors Involved
During settlement negotiations, the parties will attempt to calculate a figure that accounts for how much the plaintiff would likely recover if he or she won a verdict in court. This makes it very important for people to retain experienced personal injury lawyers who understand how to value claims.
Some of the factors that might affect the insurance company’s final settlement offer include the following:
- Relative strength or weakness of the victim’s negligence causes of action
- Whether the victim was partially at fault
- Whether the local courts tend to favor plaintiffs or defendants
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- The victim’s likelihood of recovering
- Whether the victim is permanently disabled
Part of the negotiating process will involve showing the insurance company the strength of the claim to convince it that settling for a higher amount is in the company’s best interests.
Get Help from the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
If you have received a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is a good idea for you to discuss it with an experienced personal injury attorney before you accept it. If you accept an offer, you will waive your right to seek further compensation for your losses. A personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave can calculate the likely value of your claim so that you can evaluate any offer you might receive. Schedule a free consultation with us today by calling 417-322-2222 or sending us a message online.