Understanding Settlements for Auto Accident Claims in Boston
After a car accident in Massachusetts, you may need money to cover your unexpected medical costs and your lost wages from missing work. You may also have various other damages that need covering, depending on your circumstances. Taking your lawsuit to trial is always an option, but trials tend to be long, tiresome, and unpredictable. You may want to accept a settlement, but you must understand what makes a “good” settlement.
A settlement is when the defendant in your case offers you a sum of money in exchange for you dropping the case. The money from the settlement is never as much as what you claimed in your initial complaint. Even still, a settlement can be a good idea if your case is not as strong as you hoped it would be. The key to a good settlement is getting all your expenses covered. If your settlement cannot pay for medical bills or lost wages, it is not a good settlement. You will also want to consider other damages, like pain and suffering, when accepting a settlement.
If you were injured in a car accident and now wish to file a personal injury lawsuit to claim damages, speak with our Boston car accident lawyers. We can help you navigate the legal process to get you to trial or accept a good settlement from the responsible driver. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407. Our team can arrange a free legal consultation about your case.
Accepting a Settlement for a Massachusetts Car Accident Lawsuit
What constitutes a good settlement will depend on your case. Not everyone’s case is the same. For some plaintiffs, a lower settlement may be all that is required to fill their needs. For others, their injuries may be so extensive that they need a much larger settlement. Still, for some, their injuries may be so severe and their damages so enormous that no settlement is good enough.
At the very least, a good settlement should cover your medical expenses. If you have racked up $50,000 in medical bills, but the defendant makes a settlement offer of only $30,000, you are still in the hole for $20,000. You must also consider the time you have spent away from work recovering from your car accident. If your settlement does not cover your lost wages, it might not be a good settlement.
You must also think about your own personal details outside of the accident when considering a settlement offer. Are you the primary breadwinner for your household? Do you have a family counting on you for support? If so, you may need a greater settlement to cover your needs and your family’s needs.
Determining what a good settlement looks like is entirely up to you. Your attorney should advise you on whether the offer seems too low based on the damages you claim and the expenses you need to cover. For help negotiating a settlement in your case, call our Cambridge car accident attorneys.
Choosing a Settlement over a Trial for a Car Accident Case in Massachusetts
Before deciding what a good settlement offer is, you will need to decide if you want to even consider a settlement in the first place. A settlement is accepted in place of a trial. To accept a settlement means relinquishing your rights to bring your lawsuit. Once accepted, you may be barred from bringing your cause of action ever again. This is a significant right you are giving up, so you should consult with your attorney before making any decisions.
Settlement negotiations often begin after both parties in the case have had the opportunity to consult with insurance adjusters and other experts about the value of your damages. Settlements are not typically offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. You will likely have time to consider the offer and come back with a counteroffer.
Even if the settlement being offered is a good one, you might still decide to risk your chances at trial in the hopes of a bigger win. In that case, the other party might revoke their offer. Other times, they may leave the offer on the table and you may change your mind later if the other party is still open to a settlement.
You should always consult with an attorney throughout the settlement process. Without legal representation, you may be more easily taken advantage of and duped into accepting a poor settlement. Call our Somerville car accident attorneys for help with your case.
Settlement Negotiations in Massachusetts Car Accident Lawsuits
Settlements are subject to sometimes intense negotiations. In many cases, settlement negotiations are a balancing act. You want to get enough money to cover your expenses, however, your opponent does not want to spend more on a settlement than they would at trial. Basically, if settlement costs are too great for your opponent, there is no point, and they likely will not agree to settle.
Settlement negotiations are also separate from the trial. Things said during negotiations are usually not admissible at trial. Essentially, you cannot use the things your opponent admits or does not admit during settlement negotiations as proof of liability at trial. This allows the negotiation process to be more open and candid.
Negotiations are often expected, so the first settlement offer by your opponent will probably be relatively low. They are expecting you to negotiate for a larger settlement. You have unlikely been through many settlement negotiations before, so identifying a low offer may be difficult. Speak with our Wakefield car accident lawyers and we can help you get a good settlement for your case.
Get in Touch with Our Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers to Discuss Settlement Options
If you were in a car accident in Massachusetts, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party and be compensated for your injuries. Depending on the details of your case, you might want to think about accepting a settlement. Our Malden car accident attorneys will help you negotiate the best settlement possible. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a consultation.