Personal injury settlements are the first of many options for closing your case. If you disagree with your attorney on accepting a settlement, do you have a choice in how to proceed?
The short answer: Yes. As the client, your attorney works for you, and whether or not the case is settled is solely your decision. With that in mind, your attorney will continue to advise you on this choice between settling or going to trial instead. It’s important to remember that your attorney takes different factors into consideration when determining if a settlement is fair or not.
Scenario: The insurance company has made an offer that you consider low, but your attorney knows the insurance company is likely at their top offer.
Both you and your attorney need to decide if filing suit in your case will be a good idea. Should suit be filed in effort to get a higher offer, or to appeal to a jury at trial? If you wanted to file suit and proceed to trial, your attorney may inform you that filing this suit may not result in a higher offer, and, effectively, you will lose money in the long term. However, your attorney may also consider that your case may not appeal to a jury. Even if you were injured, evidence may show no significant property damage or an independent witness is able to place some fault on you for the accident. These are all issues that can be overcome, but without the right jury pool, or without a higher settlement amount, the value of your case could be severely reduced.
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It’s your choice, always.
But what if you want to settle your case? Even if your attorney advises that the settlement offer is not a fair offer, you still have the right to settle over your attorney’s objections. This is your right as a client; you have control over your case. While your attorney is aware of other factors that may affect the monetary outcome, you just might be a very sympathetic witness and a jury may award you a larger sum than expected. You could have less significant injuries but the photographs from the accident show tremendous damage to your property. In either scenario, your attorney will advise you of the best course of action, he or she will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision for yourself and your case.
Always get it in writing.
Whether you choose to settle or not, your attorney will support your decision as best they can. In order to protect your choice, the attorney will require you to sign a written document acknowledging the choice you’ve made about your case. Settling against the advice of your attorney is a bold move, and your signature implies that, regardless of the outcome, you chose to take action with your best knowledge of the situation. Cases take time, and the cost could outweigh the result of your settlement. What if you win your case, but found you could’ve been awarded a larger settlement? These are questions your attorney always seek to answer, regardless of how you choose to use his or her advice. It is up to you, but you are not alone.
If you have questions about your potential personal injury case, contact us today or fill out our free case evaluation form. We have offices around the Gulf South – visit our locations page to find a Morris Bart office near you!