Many accident victims manage to negotiate and settle their claims outside the courtroom. However, that doesn't mean you should automatically accept an insurance company's final offer. You can file a lawsuit and pursue better compensation if the adjuster's final offer doesn't satisfy you.
Talk to a lawyer and discuss the following issues before you decide what to do with the adjuster's final offer.
Damage Computation and Case Value
The lawyer should help you confirm the case's value. The case value depends on several things, including economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are direct financial losses, such as lost wages, medical bills, and car repair costs. Noneconomic damages compensate for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.
Economic damages are relatively easier to calculate than noneconomic damages, but you need compensation for both. Lawyers have the skills and experience to compute noneconomic damages. Let the lawyer help you with the computation to confirm whether you are about to accept worthwhile compensation.
Chances at Trial
You should not automatically reject a modest settlement offer. You might reject the modest offer and get nothing if you lose at trial. Get a lawyer to evaluate your chances of winning at trial before you reject or accept the offer.
Some of the factors the lawyer will consider include:
With the analysis, you only go for trial if you have a high chance of winning at trial.
The lawyer should also help you assess how long your case will likely take if you go to trial. Factors determining how long an injury case takes include case value, number of defendants and plaintiffs, injury severity, and nature. For example, a high-value medical malpractice case will likely take longer than a modest auto accident case.
Once you have a good idea of the likely case duration, determine if you will wait that long to increase your potential settlement. For example, waiting makes sense if your finances are good and you do not need the money immediately.
Lastly, some people file injury cases for reasons beyond monetary compensation. Maybe you want the insurance company to do or stop doing something. Maybe you want a trucking company to improve its fleet maintenance program to reduce accidents.
Consider going to court if you have such concerns and the insurance company isn't willing to meet your demands. Again, the lawyer should evaluate your chances of getting the desired resolution in court.
Contact a local attorney for more information.