What Should I Know About Settling a Claim?

Settling a claim is an alternative to going to court to resolve your claim through litigation.

When you settle a claim, you work with the negligent party's insurance provider to receive compensation for your injury and close the claim. This process is often completed after weeks or months of negotiation between the insurance provider and your attorney.

Settling a claim is an alternative to going to court to resolve your claim through litigation. In fact, settlement is actually the most popular option for personal injury claims. The majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. This is primarily because of the cost. Going through the litigation process can be extremely expensive. Even if your case is settled in your favor, you could find yourself owing more money in court-related expenses than you will receive from your case. Another reason why injury victims and their lawyers choose settlement is the length of time it takes. Working through a lawsuit can be an exhausting, time-consuming process that requires multiple hearings. If either party opts to appeal the court's original decision, this just adds to the time and money that a lawsuit costs.

Settlement is Less Risky than Litigation

When your case goes to court, it is up to the judge and jury to determine its outcome. Think of a lawsuit like a high-stakes gamble – although there is greater potential for a large settlement, there is also a considerable chance that you will walk away empty-handed.

When you settle your claim out of court, your attorney and the negligent party's insurance provider both actually have a similar goal: to provide you with an adequate settlement amount that keeps the case out of court. The insurer starts by offering the lowest amount it assumes you will accept for your expenses and your attorney provides the evidence and negotiation necessary to build this settlement amount higher. Once an appropriate settlement amount is reached, the claim is closed. It is much easier to reach this amount by keeping the process private, rather than adding a jury to the mix.

Downsides to Settlement

The purpose of litigation is to prove that the defendant's negligence caused the plaintiff's injury. When a party or a company loses a case, it is publicly acknowledged to be at fault for the victim's injury. When a claim is settled privately, the negligent party does not necessarily have to admit liability, nor are the settlement results public unless the parties agree to publicize them. If it is important for you that the negligent party's guilt be publicly acknowledged, you will need to do this through litigation.

If the insurance provider will not work with your attorney to adjust your settlement amount, you might need to resolve the case in court. Litigation removes a significant amount of control from the parties' hands. Sometimes, this is necessary to receive a fair settlement.

Assessing your Case's Suitability for Settlement

Every case is unique. Your attorney can work with you to determine whether your case is better suited to settlement or litigation. If you opt to settle your case out of court, your attorney can also help you review the negligent party's settlement offer and determine whether the amount is adequate for your financial losses. If it is not, your attorney can work to negotiate a higher amount of money for you. Do not accept any offer from the other party's insurer until you have discussed it with your attorney and determined that it is a fair amount. The insurance provider will try to pay you as little as possible – never accept its initial offer.

Look at all of your injury-related expenses. Does the insurance provider's offer cover them completely? Mostly? Think beyond the short term – how will your expenses compound in the future and continue to affect your financial health and quality of life? Ask yourself these questions and discuss your answers with your attorney to determine a fair settlement amount to seek.

Settling your Las Vegas injury case out of court can mean a faster, less stressful resolution for you. Consider this option and discuss whether it is a viable choice for your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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