It only takes the blink of an eye for a semi-truck to take you by surprise and cause a devastating accident. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident on your way to work or during a road trip, then you know the extensive damage that can be caused by these big rigs. And as you struggle to find a way to cope with the reality of your severe physical injuries, the emotional and financial ramifications of your harm can take a toll. You might be angry, frustrated, and scared. That’s why now may be the time to take legal action.
Be prepared to address settlement offers
But as you pursue your personal injury claim, you may find that the trucker who harmed you, his or her employer, and multiple insurance companies may approach you with settlement offers. These agreements can be tempting to snatch up since they provide a quick way to recover compensation and close this chapter of your life, but before accepting one of these settlements, you should keep a few things in mind, including the following:
- Insurance companies are not your friend: That may sound obvious, but our judgment can be clouded when a significant amount of money is on the table. Remember, though, these companies are doing everything they can to ensure that they’re paying you as little as possible. That’s just the way they operate. So, with that in mind, approach everything the insurance company says to you with caution and make sure that you know the full extent of your losses before analyzing settlement offer.
- The strength of your case: Accepting a settlement offer means that you’re foregoing your right to go to trial, where you may be able to recover even more compensation and find more accountability. But litigation can be risky, which is why you need to carefully analyze the facts that support your claim and look at them in light of the law. If it looks like you’ve got a strong chance of winning at trial, then use that information to either bargain for a larger settlement or to prepare to move forward with litigation.
- The weaknesses of your case: Every case has weaknesses, and the insurance company will surely point them out. But you need to look at them closely and be realistic about them in order to appropriately gauge the viability of your claim. Comparative fault, for example, may be a significant factor here. Under Louisiana law, the amount of compensation awarded to you in a personal injury case can be reduced by the percentage of fault that is assigned to you. This means that a $100,000 award may be reduced to $55,000 if you’re found to be 45% at fault. This is significant.
- What you want out of your case: If you just want a quick check so that you can move on with your life, then a settlement might be right for you. If, on the other hand, you want to fight for true accountability and the full extent of the compensation that you’re owed, then going to trial might be your best bet. Remember, though, that you need to make your decision in light of the other factors mentioned above.
Don’t be pushed into an unfavorable settlement
A lot of people who have been injured in a truck accident have been through so much that they simply don’t want to face the conflict involved in a personal injury lawsuit. As a result, they oftentimes end up settling their case for less than it’s worth. That’s why it’s imperative that you conduct a comprehensive assessment of your claim so that you know what it’s worth. Then, you can work closely with an experienced legal professional who can handle the confrontational aspects of your case on your behalf. With a strong legal advocate by your side, hopefully you’ll be able to achieve the outcome that you deserve so that you can truly focus on your recovery and reclaiming your life.