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When to Settle a Personal Injury Case

When to Settle a Personal Injury Case

If you were injured due to the negligence of another party, you could get compensation for those injuries. Typically, that compensation comes from an insurance company that covers the at-fault party. The claims process is usually similar in most situations, typically resulting in a settlement. Does it matter when you settle? If it does, when is the best time to settle? 

The Circumstances of Your Claim Determine When You Should Settle 

Insurance companies typically prefer that you settle as quickly as possible. This offers a significant benefit for the insurance company. Once you settle, the case is resolved. You can’t get more money in the future, even if you discover that you have more injuries or the cost of recovering from your injuries is higher than expected.  

Rather than allow yourself to be pressured by the insurance company, you should settle on your own timeline to make sure your losses have been accurately assessed and included in your claim. 

After Consulting With a Lawyer 

The simplest answer for when to settle is after an experienced personal injury lawyer has examined your case and determined that the settlement offer from the insurance company is fair.  

It is even better if the attorney has been involved in the claim process from the beginning and negotiated a fair settlement with the insurance company. That is the best way to get the money you need to pay for your losses. 

After You Have Fully Recovered From Your Injuries 

Every attorney will tell you that, if possible, you should wait to settle your claim until you have fully recovered from your injuries. The reason to wait is this takes the guesswork out of determining the value of your claim. 

While you are recovering, your lawyer will gather and preserve all records relevant to your claims, like medical bills and missed work hours. Adding up all those values is relatively easy, and since you have the records, the insurance company will find it hard to dispute them.  

You may need to wait longer to get the money, but you should get compensation for every loss and expense related to your injuries. 

This also reduces the likelihood that there will be expenses after you get a settlement. Unless you suffered some type of injury that lay dormant for years, you are unlikely to need additional medical care. 

When the Statute of Limitations Is About to Run Out 

In some accidents, you may suffer an injury that requires years of medical treatment. You can’t wait forever to get compensation in situations like that. According to the New York statute of limitations, you only have three years after an accident to file a lawsuit against the liable party. 

While this doesn’t technically affect settlements, it effectively does. If the time limit to file a lawsuit has passed, the insurance company has no reason to settle. You have no legal recourse if it doesn’t. 

This means that even if you have no intention of filing a lawsuit, you need to settle a claim within three years of the accident. The only way to extend this time is by filing a lawsuit before the time limit runs out.  

Typically, if you have long-term injuries like this, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer to estimate the value of your claim. This can give you the best chance of getting the compensation you will need. 

After Filing a Lawsuit but Before the Jury Awards Compensation 

Many personal injury cases that go to trial never end in a jury award. While juries can award much larger amounts of money than you will receive in a settlement, there is no guarantee the jury will side with you or give you a large award. 

Typically, after evidence is presented at trial but before the jury rules, lawyers for both sides have one last negotiation. Insurance companies are likely to make their highest settlement offer at this time because the risk is highest. Often, it is worth accepting this offer because it provides certainty. 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in New York 

Determining when to accept a settlement offer can have a significant influence on the value of your settlement. This is the type of decision that should not be made lightly or without the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos. 

Before you agree to any offer made by a New York insurance company, contact our law firm at 1-877-ASK4SAM and schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.