Reasons To Avoid Settling A California Accident Claim Too Early
Many people assume California personal injury cases will always involve litigation, so you might be surprised to learn that the vast majority of them settle. Statistics indicate that just 4 to 5 percent of accident claims go to trial by judge or jury, while the remaining suits are resolved by agreement between the parties. There are multiple advantages for injury victims who settle, and gaining certainty in the outcome is a top benefit. It can be risky to put your case in the hands of jurors who may or may not find your evidence compelling – not to mention the cost and time involved in a trial.
However, settling too early can be just as harmful to your rights as going to trial and losing. Some Oakland personal injury attorneys would equate this scenario with trying to take the final exam after you attended just one week of classes. Here are a few reasons that jumping on a settlement offer early could have the opposite effect of what you anticipate.
There are lingering questions of fault. With many accidents, it is not entirely clear who was at fault – and very possible that there may be multiple responsible parties. Negligence is a core concept in personal injury matters, and it refers to a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care. An insurance company will likely point the finger at the victim for carelessness because doing so gets their policyholder off the hook. If you were truly not at fault, you should not accept the blame or a low-ball settlement offer.
Your losses are considerable. When your physical, financial, and emotional losses are substantial, an insurer will be focusing on its own bottom line. The company will do everything possible to avoid paying the full amount, so the claims adjuster may “tease” with an early offer that seems reasonable but does not compensate you for your losses. The settlement might be tempting when you are facing significant hardships after an accident, but you could lose out on fair compensation if you accept without knowing the full picture.
You are still receiving medical care for your injuries. If your injuries are catastrophic and/or disabling, it may be some time before you know how they will affect your life. For instance, you might need surgery within a few weeks after the accident, or you could require extensive long-term care. Plus, you will likely miss work if you suffer serious bodily harm, but you may not yet know whether you will ever be able to return to your job. Insurance companies will often make a settlement offer before such information is available.
Our Oakland Personal Injury Lawyers Will Counsel You on Settlements
The biggest risk with settling too soon is being undercompensated for your losses, which is a mistake many accident victims face because they do not fully understand the value of the case. You can rely on our attorneys at Venardi Zurada, LLP to recover fair monetary damages, as we have decades of combined experience with settlements and trials. Please contact us today to schedule a no-cost case review at our offices in Oakland, Walnut Creek, or Redding, CA.