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After you submit a personal injury claim, you might need to decide whether you want to accept a settlement or take the liable party to court. Many people find it difficult to weigh an offer they have in hand against the possibility of winning a higher payout in court. When you need to discuss the pros and cons of filing a personal injury lawsuit, our attorneys in Navasota, TX and Rockville, TX can review your case.

Every personal injury is different, and the strategy for maximizing the compensation in your case will likely be different from the approach best used for someone else’s case. Most people tend to prefer settling outside of court because it involves less risk and fewer legal fees than going to court. However, in a few cases, going to court can yield a larger payout. Your attorney can help you make an informed decision regarding your case.

What Is a Settlement Offer?

When an insurance company sends you a settlement offer, they are agreeing to give you an amount of money, which they specify, as compensation for the injury you sustained. In exchange, they will ask you to sign a document relinquishing your right to take them to court. By accepting a settlement you lock in the amount of money being offered while forgoing the ability to demand additional compensation in the future.

What Are the Benefits of Accepting a Settlement Offer?

For the Insurance Company

Most personal injury cases end in a settlement because, in most situations, agreeing to resolve legal issues outside of court has benefits for all parties involved. The insurance company benefits by paying you an amount of money that you will accept without spending additional resources on a trial. Insurance companies understand that if they do not present a reasonable offer, they risk being taken to trial and ordered to pay the amount that the plaintiff would have settled for, plus additional damages, the plaintiff’s legal fees, and more.

For the Claimant

The claimant (you) can benefit from a settlement because, by accepting an offer, you avoid the possibility of going to trial and losing the case. Most claimants prefer to negotiate a reasonable settlement rather than risk the entirety of their payout on a verdict that may or may not be favorable to them.

Aside from the risk involved, going to trial tends to be a slower way to seek compensation for an injury. Getting ready for a trial requires adherence to court protocols, preparing evidence according to legal standards, and potentially hiring expert witnesses.

When Is It Advisable to Go to Court?

Most personal injury attorneys will make every effort to negotiate an attractive settlement on your behalf. With thoughtful arguments and persuasive tactics, there is a good chance that the insurance company will agree to pay you the amount you demand. However, your attorney may advise you to initiate a personal injury lawsuit if:

  • The insurance company rejects your claim entirely
  • The insurance company sends you an offer that is too low and refuses to increase it
  • You have enough compelling evidence to present a well-documented case in court

In some cases, going to court is the best option because seeking a settlement with the liable party’s insurance company is not possible. For example, if you were hit by an uninsured driver, you may need to pursue damages with him or her directly. While he or she may not have an insurance policy to provide your compensation, a court might order him or her to pay you out of pocket by liquidating assets or tapping into a savings account.

How to Strengthen Your Case for a Settlement or a Verdict

Your approach to building a strong case for compensation should be based on clear evidence and well-constructed arguments, whether you seek a settlement or go to court. In fact, showing the insurance company that you are prepared to present a compelling case in court is the most effective way to persuade them to offer you the kind of settlement you deserve.

Work With a Credible Law Firm

Statistically, claimants who hire an attorney receive higher settlements than individuals who choose to represent themselves. There are many reasons why you are likely to get a higher payout by working with a credible law firm. First, the insurance company will be less inclined to use tactics designed to exploit your ignorance of personal injury law, such as tempting you with a low settlement.

Your lawyer may be able to increase the value of your claim by combing through the accident for additional opportunities to demand compensation. He or she may notice that you are eligible for future medical expenses, reduced earning capacity, or punitive damages. Demonstrating the true cost of your injury can yield thousands or even millions of dollars more than you initially expected to recover.

Choose a Lawyer With a Track Record of Winning Cases

Even if your goal is to settle outside of court, the insurance company will only take your arguments seriously if they know your attorney is capable of securing a favorable verdict on your behalf. Before you commit to an attorney, check their track record for a history of winning cases.

Focus on the Evidence

The insurance company is less likely to give you a large settlement if they believe the evidence you have will not hold up in court. Your attorney will help you document your accident from legally permissible sources such as:

  • Footage of the crash (including amateur photos and videos taken on a smartphone)
  • Witness statements
  • The testimony of expert witnesses
  • Physical evidence
  • Your medical records
  • Your employment records
  • The police report

Depending on the details of your accident, additional sources of evidence may be used to prove that the other driver was at fault. If you suspect alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, DUI test results might be available. In cases of distracted driving, the other driver’s phone records may indicate that he or she was texting as the crash occurred.

Go to the Hospital

Many people don’t realize that declining the opportunity to visit the ER can jeopardize their claim. Creating an official record of your injuries, complete with diagnostic results and physicians’ notes, is a valuable way to strengthen your case. If you did not go to the ER on the day of the crash, be sure to get seen by your doctor as soon as possible.

Set Up a Consultation With a Lawyer Who Practices in Navasota, TX and Rockville, TX

Taking the time to understand how the legal system works can help you compare the advantages of accepting a settlement offer vs. initiating a lawsuit. When you meet with a personal injury attorney, you will receive knowledgeable advice based on the specifics of your incident. Your consultation is an opportunity to discuss:

  • The validity of your grounds for a claim
  • The likelihood that the insurance company will offer you a settlement
  • Your ability to present convincing evidence in court
  • Ways to strengthen your case

Our attorneys are available to take on personal injury cases in Navasota, TX and Rockville, TX. We will help you leverage every aspect of the claim submission process, from stating your initial demands to resolving the case. To schedule a consultation with us, contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer.

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“No words describe how amazing it is to work with Brian.” J.T.

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