Determining when to settle and negotiating the best possible settlement is important after a motorcycle accident. When someone is injured in a motorcycle accident, the parties responsible for the accident are also responsible for damages for suffering and pain, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Pros and Cons of Settling
Settlements can be much faster than trials. Most cases can settle within six to 12 months and this can be helpful if you need money quickly to cover your medical expenses. Overall, a settlement is more cost-efficient, faster, and less stressful than a trial. You and your attorney will be mostly in control when it comes to settlements. You also have the power to decline or accept any offers an insurance company gives you and negotiate for a better one. Even though settlements are efficient, there are cons. When you accept a settlement, there could be a chance that you would have gotten more if you went to trial. An attorney can help you decide if the potential is worth going to court. If injuries get worse over time, then you aren’t able to go back to insurance and get more money. Once you accept the offer, you aren’t able to negotiate for a better deal.
What Is Fair and Reasonable?
It’s a much easier choice to go to trial if the other side doesn’t offer any or a very small amount of compensation. Having the experience and expertise of a motorcycle accident attorney is important to help you know if the compensation package is or isn’t great. You want someone who has evaluated thousands of different cases and can predict the outcome of your case in order to help guide you through the decision process.
Settlements from Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may think a lawyer is either too scared or the law firm is too small to go to trial. They feel like they have the upper hand and hope that you will take a small settlement. Insurance companies that feel the threat of a powerful lawyer will be more willing to settle the case for more money in order to avoid the risk of going to trial and getting hit with a larger payout. This is why having a lawyer on your side is so beneficial.
When You Should Not Accept a Settlement?
It can be hard to determine when you should accept a settlement but it’s a bit easier to say when a settlement isn’t acceptable. A settlement that is unfair and has an at-fault driver refusing to negotiate can indicate that it’s the right time to take the case to trial. For example, the settlement is unacceptable if the plaintiff is denied basic compensation for expenses such as medical care, especially if the injuries mean significant medical costs. Since accident victims are entitled to compensation for wages lost because of injury if this compensation is missing then it is also unacceptable. If a victim is permanently disabled from injuries caused by the crash, then he or she is entitled to compensation, loss of future income, and costs for lifestyle changes. Sometimes these cases may be settled better in court.
Settlement Factors in a Motorcycle Accident Case
There are many different factors in a motorcycle accident case that may predict the outcome.
How the Parties Value the Case: In order to value the case, it means determining the best guess at what a jury might give the plaintiff and what the defendant would be willing to pay. Properly valuing the case depends on the plaintiff’s damages and how likely the jury is to find the defendant at fault for the accident.
The Plaintiff’s Damages: Some of these damages, like lost wages and medical bills, can be easier to predict since these will be based on the amount the plaintiff shows he or she has lost or paid. For less concrete damages, such as pain and suffering, predictions are an educated guess based on what was awarded in similar motorcycle accidents in the past. How the accident affects a plaintiff is also important in valuing the damages. For instance, if a plaintiff is left with permanent injuries and was formerly an active person then his or her quality of life will be lowered, and this could be important in the eyes of the jury. If an accident left a plaintiff permanently disabled, but not in a way that affects his or her livelihood, then the earning potential could be lower.
Likelihood the Defendant Will Be Found Liable: If the plaintiff doesn’t have any evidence or has little evidence that the defendant is at fault then the case value goes down. Even if potential damages are high, a defendant may be less willing to settle and take a chance at trial if the fault is in question. The plaintiff could be inclined to take a lower settlement because there is the risk, he or she ends up with nothing at trial. Juries can also be unfavorable to motorcycle riders. This doesn’t mean that the plaintiff won’t get anything, but it may lower the chances if the evidence isn’t there.
Whether or not you should settle or go to trial will depend on your unique case and the team you have behind you.