Another driver hit you at a red light, you filed an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurer, but settlement negotiations are going nowhere. You and your auto accident injury lawyers cannot get a good settlement. Should you take what is offered or file an auto accident lawsuit?
The main reason to file a personal injury lawsuit is if you do not think the insurance company is making you a fair settlement offer. If your attorney thinks the insurance company is low balling you, filing suit may be the best thing to do.
If Your Case Is Worth More: Personal injury negotiations always come down to money. If your auto accident injury lawyers think your case value is more than what the insurance company is offering, then you should file a lawsuit.
But how far apart should the two sides be before you file suit? This is where you need to remember that an auto accident claim does not have an exact value. It has a value within a certain range.
The reason for this is that a significant part of the car accident claim’s value is your pain and suffering. This aspect of the claim cannot be determined precisely with a calculator. So, in the real world, your claim is not worth, for instance, $50,000. Rather, it is worth between $40,000 and $60,000, depending on how much your pain and suffering is valued.
If the case is worth a range between $40,000 and $60,000, the idea is to settle the claim in that range and hopefully towards the $60,000.
When to Settle vs Sue
If you and your auto accident injury lawyers value your case at $40,000 to $60,000 and the auto insurer offers you $52,000, this is a no brainer. You take it and settle the case. If the final offer is $39,000, you still may take the offer. But if their final offer is only $18,000, you would definitely sue.
Here is a tougher example. Say that the final offer from the insurer is $30,000. You still would possibly want to sue. But if you file suit, you will not be able to discuss settlement again for a few months. That is because once the suit is filed, the attorney for the defense will want to do discovery and pre-trial investigation. The insurer does not want to talk about a settlement until the investigation is complete.
Also remember that if you decide to sue, your attorney’s expenses will rise. A later settlement could end up being smaller.
Another example: If your attorney’s fees before a lawsuit are $1000 and you get a $39,000 offer with a 1/3 contingency fee, your attorney’s fee is $13,000. You would get a total of $25,000 from the settlement. You reject the offer and sue, and the insurance company now offers $54,000, but your legal fees rose by $5000. So you are only netting $30,000. Is it worth waiting an entire year for $5000? Maybe not.
Call The Herron Law Firm Today
Are you thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident? Call the auto accident injury lawyers at The Herron Law Firm for a free consultation.