Personal injury trials can be very exciting and dramatic. They can also be an excellent means of seeking and obtaining justice. However, trial outcomes are inherently uncertain. The main reason parties choose to settle cases is that settlements provide certainty and closure on the client’s voluntary terms. Even a favorable trial verdict may not provide closure because parties often appeal judgments, and the appellate process can take several months or longer.
Most litigants prefer an outcome they can control and choose voluntarily rather than allowing strangers to decide their fate. Litigation through trial can also be extremely costly and time-consuming. Parties also may choose settlement for legitimate emotional reasons unique to them.
Q: Is there ever simply a circumstance where an early settlement offer looks fair and you recommend that your client accept it?
Yes. If an early settlement offer seems fair and just, I will not hesitate to recommend it. I won’t recommend an early settlement unless I have enough time to gain a comprehensive understanding of my client’s damages including each and every way her injuries have impacted her life, both economically and non-economically.
The mistake that many people make is settling early for a given sum of money only to learn later that their condition requires significant future medical care. Once you settle you can’t go back and ask the opposition for more money.
The greatest incentive for our opposition to settle at any point is they want to pay a concrete sum of damages in exchange for a binding promise that you will never sue them or otherwise seek further compensation arising out of the incident.
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