The majority of legal claims arising from auto collisions do not reach a jury trial. Typically, they are resolved earlier in the litigation process through a negotiated settlement among the parties. Sometimes an informal settlement can take place before any lawsuit is even filed. Through settlement, the plaintiff agrees to give up the right to pursue any further legal action in connection with the collision in exchange for payment of an agreed-upon sum of money from the defendant or an insurance company. If you are thinking about settling a legal claim after an auto collision, or if you have received a settlement offer from the opposing side, you may want to talk to a lawyer. It’s important to get his or her thorough assessment of the case and opinion about the likelihood of settlement. When meeting with your lawyer, you should consider and discuss the following points:
STRENGTHS OF THE CASE.
* Jury verdicts and settlement outcomes in similar cases;
* Your chances of winning at trial;
* Practical difficulties in trying the case;
* Strengths and weaknesses in your evidence; and
* Strength and weaknesses in your opponent's evidence.
MONEY AND DAMAGES.
* What your lawyer thinks the case may be worth in a range of dollar amounts and what he or she thinks you could receive in damages at trial;
* The minimum amount you will accept to end the case and avoid trial;
* The policy limits of the defendant's insurance coverage; and
* The defendant's own monetary resources.
As a party to the lawsuit, only you can make the final decision of whether to accept a settlement. But keep in mind that opposing counsel is obligated to get the best possible deal for their client, which means offering you as little as possible. Is it a good deal for you, too? That can be a complicated question best analyzed by an experienced lawyer. If you need legal advice about a settlement offer, contact us at 253.858.5434 for a free consultation today.