Should You Settle Your Personal Injury Case?
Most civil cases are successfully settled outside of court, but that doesn’t mean you should assume every settlement is fair—adjusters rarely make fair offers until they’re forced to. Simultaneously, however, taking a personal injury case to court is fundamentally risky, so at times, it’s best to settle. All settlements are compromises between two sides; one side is the insurance company, trying to minimize costs and turn a profit, and the other is you, trying to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering.
When It’s Safe to Settle
Let’s first look at when it’s likely fine to settle your personal injury case outside of court:
- When your injury and settlement offers are extremely minor. When you get an attorney involved, the value of your personal injury settlement goes up unquestionably. However, in minor cases with small payouts, you might value convenience and the peace of mind of quickly getting things done over a few hundred dollars more—if you’re confident that you won’t experience any medical complications, and you’re completely fine with receiving what is likely an undervalued amount of compensation for your troubles, then go ahead and settle with insurance adjusters on your own. However, even if you don’t intend to hire an attorney, just talking to a personal injury lawyer in Arizona, free of charge, is always advisable.
- Once your attorney advises settling. As your attorney negotiates with the insurance company you’ve filed your claim through, they’ll make a series of offers and counter-offers, but eventually, will likely reach a consensus at a fair value for you. In rare situations, your attorney will advise you to push for a lawsuit, but usually, they’ll reach a point where they’ll tell you to settle. Lawyers have the experience necessary to weigh the risks and potential profits of a lawsuit with the consistency and value of a settlement, so whatever they recommend is likely the best course of action.
The Risks of Settling
Nearly two million cases are filed a year in Arizona. Of those, over half are civil and traffic cases, all of which are likely to involve one insurance company or another—with so many cases, consider the fact that even minor reductions in settlement offers are bound to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for insurance companies. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why adjusters are trained to aggressively minimize settlements, using anything possible to “cheat” claimants out of the compensation they deserve. Remember, settling is a compromise, and it carries certain risks:
- Settlements are final. Once you settle, that’s it—barring special circumstances, you won’t be able to seek out further compensation for your personal injury after receiving your settlement.
- Your settlement might not be comprehensive. Combatting dishonest tactics is a process, but even with the help of an attorney, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll reach a settlement with the insurance company that fully compensates you.
Pursuing an Arizona Personal Injury Lawsuit
Lawsuits have significantly higher payouts than settlements, but also carry risk with them—if you lose, you might not get anything at all, and you’ll have lost the time and money invested into the process. Trying to decide whether a settlement or lawsuit is best for you on your own is fundamentally difficult; that decision should always be made with advice from a personal injury attorney in Arizona. Contact ELG today at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation and talk more about your personal injury case.