8 Points to Consider Before Taking a Personal Injury SettlementShould you take a settlement offer, or ask for more money, or go to court? These questions are quite important in personal injury lawsuits. Usually, you want to take the settlement offer if it's fair. There are some points to consider before you make any personal injury lawsuit decisions.
Always Hire a Lawyer
First, do not make this decision alone, or let yourself be intimidated by insurers trying to give you money. Be smart, hire a lawyer, and explain no decision will be made without legal counsel.
Know Your Lawyer Fee
In settlements, a portion of the money is your lawyer's. This typically goes from 25% to 35%, but usually on the low end for settlements. If your case goes to court, the lawyer will do more work and get a higher amount, closer to 35%. If you settle, and your lawyer spends less time on the lawsuit, it may be around 25%. But it's important to know how much of your money is going to the lawyer when deciding on the offer.
This can get complex legally, but a settlement may affect your income taxes, with or without a lump sum payment. It's wise to consult with a financial expert in order to understand how much you'll get after taxes.
If the defendant has a lot of insurance coverage, that may mean a bigger offer. If they are barely covered, that may mean a smaller offer. Sometimes you can only get so much from the responsible party.
How Much Other Money?
Is the defendant a millionaire or unemployed? Is it a small business or a Fortune 500 company? Just like insurance coverage, how much the defendant earns must be considered in your settlement offer. You don't want too little money if they have a lot, nor try to force a higher offer from someone lacking a lot of funds.
The Defendant's Lawyer
Often you can reach a fair settlement, but this is dependent on the defendant's legal representation. Some lawyers may be more than willing to take counter offers, while others may not. This is mainly a job for your lawyer.
Pain and Suffering Issues
If you've suffered severely, it's your right to get higher damages. You may have been more affected mentally than physically. You may be able to work but suffer through extreme pain. You also deserve more for loss of life enjoyment.
What's your low offer?
Finally, what is your bare minimum offer? Consider using it if the defendant lacks funds. You want a number you won't go lower than, just in case. If you are miles apart, it may be best to go to court. That's where an experienced personal injury lawyer is invaluable.