Rejecting a settlement offer does not mean you won’t be able to recover financial damages from the at-fault party for your injuries. In fact, sometimes rejecting a settlement offer is in your best interest because the insurance company or third party is offering a low-ball offer.
Not all settlement offers are worth your consideration or acceptance. Determining a fair settlement amount is challenging and takes careful calculation and investigation. That’s why you should hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so they can help you evaluate settlement offers and negotiate with the other party.
To better understand what happens if you reject a settlement offer, let’s look at the normal process for an injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Claim and Lawsuit Process
Understanding the process for recovering damages for injuries will guide you in knowing that if you reject a settlement offer, you could still recover financial damages through other means or further negotiation with the other party. Here’s a look at the normal process for injury claims.
- The injured party generally hires an attorney to present evidence and guide them through the process. This first step helps ensure that you don’t say or do the wrong thing throughout the process and harm your ability to pursue a lawsuit.
- You and your attorney could begin negotiating a settlement before filing a lawsuit. Keeping the case out of the court system can decrease legal fees for both parties and speed up the resolution process. However, sometimes having an open case will nudge the other party to take the negotiations more seriously. This might be the phase where you reject a settlement offer because the insurance company or other party involved isn’t taking your case seriously.
- File a complaint with the proper civil court outlining what you say happened and the injuries you sustained as a result. The courts will then serve the defendant in the case so they know about the allegations against them.
- At this point, you might resume settlement negotiations as the other party now knows you are serious about pursuing damages. They might be more willing to offer a fair settlement at this point.
- Pre-trial and discovery then takes place. This is when you and the defendant present your evidence and witnesses. You’ll appear in court before the judge and will schedule depositions. This part of the process can take months and can get pushed back repeatedly, which impacts the timeline for when you’ll get financial compensation for your injuries.
- Before the trial begins, you will likely resume negotiations for a settlement. Again, reaching a settlement is preferable to going to trial as you’ll avoid lengthy court processes and can recover financially faster.
- If you still can’t reach a settlement, you’ll begin the trial phase of the process where a judge will hear arguments, review evidence, and take witness testimony to determine a fair judgment in the case.
Evaluating Settlement Offers
Early on in your case, you’ll work with your attorney to calculate the expense of your medical bills, missed work, pain and suffering and other expenses to determine a fair settlement amount. Attorneys know how to calculate these numbers carefully to ensure you have coverage for long-term medical expenses and inconveniences due to your injuries.
When evaluating a settlement offer, you and your attorney will discuss whether the offer is fair to cover your current and future expenses. And if not, rejecting the settlement is in your best interest.
If you need guidance and legal counsel for a personal injury case, Stewart & Stewart is a team of exceptional Indiana attorneys who can help with everything from car accidents to wrongful death. Contact us now for your free case evaluation.