Nearly all personal injury claims settle. Most settle before a trial starts, but they may resolve during or after a trial too. No matter the timing, you decide whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is good enough. We’ll advise you whether we think you should accept it, but it’s your case. We’re just here to help.
A settlement offer is part of the back-and-forth negotiation process involved in trying to settle a personal injury case. The insurance company will give us a figure and explain why they think it’s worth taking. We will respond with a higher figure and justify why it’s fair. This continues to the point you accept their number, the insurance company takes your demand, or the parties resolve the case for a figure in between.
If we can’t reach this point, we may try mediation where a neutral third party is hired to help the parties resolve the case. If all else fails, the insurance company will make what they say is their last, best offer. It’s a “take it or leave it” offer where you will decide to end your case or accept the uncertainties of moving ahead.
You need to consider the costs and benefits of accepting and rejecting it, like any decision. Is what’s offered worth resolving the issue and putting this behind you? Might the offer improve if you decline it, or would a jury award be worth the cost of going to trial?
Cases settle because neither party wants to risk a potential all-or-nothing outcome at trial. Even if you win, the jury may not award you as much damages as expected. That would be a partial win and loss for both sides.
What are the Costs of Going to Trial?
We take cases on contingency, so we bear the financial cost of a trial, but you must spend time, energy, and effort preparing for and participating in it. Trials come at an emotional cost too. You will be cross-examined by the defendant’s attorney and relive a traumatic accident in a public courtroom. Your medical and emotional situation will be an open book.
Schechter, Sheffer, & Harris has many years of experience with trials in Houston and the surrounding area. We know the outcomes of our trials and other cases. We can advise you of what we think the jury may decide, given the evidence, and what we believe your case is worth.
If the insurance company offers a reasonable offer, we will probably recommend you take it. You can decide what’s best for you and your family.
What are the Benefits of Going to Trial?
Most insurance companies, at some point, come to their senses and make reasonable offers. Depending on the evidence, when we get it, and the insurance company’s approach to cases, this may happen sooner or later.
But there are times when both sides simply don’t see eye-to-eye. You may get an unreasonably low offer, where the potential benefits of going to trial outweigh the possible costs. If the insurance company isn’t offering you what’s fair, the jury may award you a fair or even generous award.
How Should I Decide?
Is an offer worth taking? You should consider the ‘best case scenario’ and all the damages you could receive. Then think about the strengths and weaknesses of both sides’ evidence. You have the burden of proof. Given the evidence that bolsters and weakens your claims, how might a jury consider your case?
What will the costs be if you continue the process – the time, energy, and grief you’ll deal with? Start with what you might win, then consider fair discounts for what you’ll avoid by settling.
Every client and claim is unique. Much of the decision is based on the person and their situation, not just the amount offered. Clients have different priorities and viewpoints that impact whether they want to accept an offer or proceed with a case. The important thing is what works for you:
- What’s your financial situation? Clients who are in dire need of money will probably accept an offer that another client who’s more financially secure will reject
- How risk-averse are you? People are more or less willing to take risks in their lives. That can include relationships, investments, where to live, and what job to take. If you’re not a risk-taker, you may be uncomfortable rejecting an offer. If you are one, you might be more willing to say no and go forward with a trial to try to get a larger recovery
- How much more can you take? You may be fed up with the legal process and unhappy with how the insurance company has handled your case. If you just want to put this behind you and move on with your life, you’re more likely to accept an offer
No matter how you decide, we will support you and help you make the most of your decision.
Should I Hire a Schechter, Shaffer & Harris Personal Injury Lawyer?
Call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P if you need a Houston personal injury lawyer with years of regional court system experience. As a personal injury law firm in Texas, we help people like you win settlements and judgments for their injuries. Get in touch with our legal team today to schedule your free consultation and begin the process to get the compensation you deserve.