When Is An Out Of Court Settlement A Bad Idea?

One of the few things that is worse than being the victim of an accident with a permanent injury, is finding out afterwards that it was because of someone else being careless. There are some instances, such as a person slipping and falling in a shopping mall, only to suffer a permanent disability, or a person caught in serious traffic accident, where this mishap could have been easily prevented if another person had been exercising their legal responsibility.

If you want to make sure you are treated fairly for something that is someone else’s responsibility, then you’ll want to get the advice and advocacy of a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg to guide you. That way you’ll have an experienced professional at every step of the way in your journey to a personal injury lawsuit and the trial that will resolve the matter.

Except, of course, when there’s no trial at all. In some cases, a personal injury case may not make it all the way to court. Sometimes, the other party will make an offer of compensation without the need for a decision from a jury. Such actions are called out of court settlements, but there are instances when this is a good idea, and other instances when this is not the right decision to make. How do you tell the difference?

An Expert Opinion

First and foremost, if any offer of money is made for an out of court settlement, the decision to accept it is not something you do without running it by your lawyer first. Some unscrupulous insurance companies may try to prey on your ignorance, and make a very rapid offering of compensation, putting pressure on you to sign a contract and accept the money. Once you accept the offer and sign the contract however, you usually forfeit any future ability to sue or ask for more money.

An experienced lawyer, after looking at the particulars of your case, will know how much money is actually reasonable compensation for your injuries. This is especially true if your injuries are permanent and will require fundamental changes to your life, or even additional, permanent medical treatment. If you do not have someone in your corner that understands all these possible financial and medical factors, you may think to yourself that the offer now being made to you is “a lot of money” when, in fact, you’ll need far more to live a reasonable life in the future. By signing that contract, without the advice of a lawyer, you may be severely limiting your financial options for the rest of your life.

The Ideal Situation

A better out of court settlement proposition usually occurs as you and your St. Pete lawyer are progressing with the lawsuit and preparing for a court date. The “discovery” phase of the court process means that both legal teams are gathering their evidence, information and expert testimony, which is then shared between teams so as to avoid surprises.

This means that if you already have strong evidence that can win the case, such as dashboard cam footage of the accident, it may be clear to the other party they will decisively lose the case. In the interests of avoiding a lengthy and public court case, they will often agree to a much fairer amount. This is when you should listen to your attorney’s advice and accept the settlement..