The severity of motor vehicle accidents experienced by Birmingham residents can range from minor to serious. Often tied to the seriousness of a crash is the significance of the victims’ losses. For many, significant damages may be obvious from the moment their accidents occur. For others, the extent of losses that victims sustain from their collisions may not be realized for months after their crashes happen.
Because of the many unknowns in motor vehicle accidents claims, it is not always prudent to settle cases early on. It can be difficult for a victim to evaluate their losses, consider their settlement options, and understand what it will take to litigate their claims without legal help. Before making any decisions about the management of their accident-related legal claims, motor vehicle accident victims can consult with trusted personal injury attorneys.
What are settlements?
Settlements are a legal tool that exist in many different realms of the law. A divorce case can be settled when the parties agree to divorce terms, and a business dispute may be settled if the parties can come to an agreement on working through their differences. The same basic principles hold true in personal injury cases. A victim and the party that injured them may choose to settle the victims’ claims against the other for a set amount of money in lieu of going to court.
On their face, settlements may seem like win-win transactions. A victim gets the money they need, and they can avoid going to court. However, not every case and not every victim is well-positioned to settle. As readers continue, they are reminded that this post is informational in content and should not be read as legal advice.
When is a personal injury settlement a bad idea?
Every case is different and victims may have different needs that influence their decisions regarding settlement offers. However, if a victim cannot quantify their losses, or if they expect that their losses will continue to accrue after they agree to a settlement offer, they may want to seriously consider not signing off on the offer. That is because, generally, when a victim agrees to a settlement offer, they exchange their right to later sue the responsible party for their losses for immediate compensation.
Readers are asked to consider a victim who suffered a serious head injury in their crash. Though they retained consciousness in their accident and have begun to recover, they continue to experience side effects from their head trauma. There is no timeline for when their suffering will end, and the effects of their head injury may prevent them from working or providing for their own needs.
In the above-mentioned situation, the future for this victim is unpredictable. While they may eventually recover fully from their accident, they may also be left with suffering and pain for years to come. If they choose to settle their claims for their losses, they may later discover that their settlement was insufficient to fully cover all of the ongoing costs associated with their accident-related damages.
An offer to settle a personal injury claim is an option that many motor vehicle accident victims will have to consider. No victim must make important legal decisions about their rights or options on their own. Their trusted personal injury attorneys can provide them with advice to support their unique needs.