When you are negotiating a personal injury settlement, your main aim is to get the highest possible amount. In fact, a common bit of advice is to reject a low offer and proceed to trial with the hope of increasing the award. However, this only makes sense in some cases, but not all. For example, it might be prudent to accept a seemingly low offer in any of these two conditions.
Your Case Is Uncertain
If both of you aren't confident of prevailing at trial, it makes sense to accept a low offer. After all, if your fears are true, you might go to court and lose. This may be the case, for example, if your lawyer has evaluated your case and found it weak. You know you have a weak case if any of the following are true:
- You don't have witnesses.
- Juries have returned unfavorable verdicts in similar cases.
- You did not seek immediate medical care.
- Liability is difficult to prove.
- You also contributed to the accident (this may reduce your recovery considerably).
Keep in mind, it doesn't mean that you have a weak case if only one of these factors apply to your situation. However, the more of them that apply to your situation the weaker your case might be.
The Defendant Has a Low Insurance Limit
The defendant's insurance is the primary source of money for your settlement. Therefore, if their coverage limit is low, it only makes sense to proceed with a lawsuit if the defendant has other sources of money that you can go after.
For example, if a defendant has a liability insurance coverage with a limit of $50,000, it doesn't make sense to sue them for $150, 000 because you probably won't get the money. If such a defendant offers to settle for $50, it might be best to take the money to close the case. Proceeding to court only makes sense if you can get the additional money by garnishing the defendant's wages, placing a lien on their property or via any other legally recognized means of collection.
Think carefully before accepting a low offer. Discuss it with your attorney and take their advice into consideration. In some places, if you reject a low offer and end up being awarded the same or less amount after the trial, you may be compelled to pay the defendant's cost of the trial. At the same time, accepting an offer ends your claim against the defendant, and you may have no recourse if it later turns out that your injuries were more serious than you initially thought.
For more information and assistance, contact a personal injury lawyer.