New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Risks of Accepting an Early Settlement Offer in Your Accident Case
Posted on Jan 19, 2015 in Personal Injury
You want to settle this accident case lawsuit, and you feel that you if you accept the first offer directed towards you, you can avoid the hassle and expense of going to trial. However, there are certain risks in accepting an early settlement offer.
Why does Defense Make an Early Settlement Offer
If you are lucky enough to receive an early settlement offer then it could mean one of two things. First, the defense might have recognized that they are going to have a problem proving or defending their case, or second, they feel there is a possibility of getting out of the case for a paltry and inexpensive amount. The main problem with accepting an early settlement is that you are not going to attain a full value for your case, for your injuries, and for the harms and losses, you have suffered. Why is this so? It is because the defense realizes that:
- You may need the money and not have the time to wait for a larger sum
- If they make an early settlement offer you are most likely to grab it and take it
- By offering a pitiful settlement at an early stage, they are going to save a significant amount of money and they know this
These psychological motivating factors, the defense will look at and evaluate, to make an early settlement offer or not. Firstly, the defense will consider if they have liability, meaning if they are responsible for the injuries you have suffered. If the answer is yes, then they will consider the type of injuries you have sustained. What type of harm you have suffered, and whether you have any permanent injuries? Are your injuries debilitating or disabling? Are you going to suffer from a disability for the rest of your life?
Risks in Accepting Early Settlement Offer
In the beginning of the case, the defense is not likely to have near enough information to conclude about permanent injuries or disability. Nobody can predict this early in the case because you will still be undergoing treatment for your injuries, and until your care and treatment has finished, there is no way of knowing, how long your injuries are going to be there. You might later need further treatment or corrective surgery, and your injuries might continue for a period, which will significantly increase the value of your accident case.
If you accept an early settlement offer, there are outstanding chances that you will not be obtaining full value for your case. Additionally, you might still have to undergo ongoing treatment and care in the future, and the question is who is going to pay for it once you accept an early settlement. Once you have officially accepted a settlement, your case is over, and you cannot initiate another lawsuit to claim a further amount for the same accident.
Therefore, it is not wise to accept an early settlement offer, even if it might seem good enough to you. Apart from consulting with your lawyer, you also need to weigh in the fact that you might need further treatment for your injuries, or you might suffer from long-term or permanent disabilities.