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Victims of personal injury have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia against those who have harmed them. However, instead of lawsuits with verdicts, most victims get the compensation they seek from settlements, which are paid out much more quickly than trial verdicts.
The problem many victims run into is knowing when to settle. If a claimant settles too early, they are likely to leave significant compensation on the table. If they hold out too long, the insurance company might pull their final offer and choose to go to trial. Detailed below are four signs that may mean it’s time to take their offer and move on.
Assessing the Strength of Your Case
Injury victims have the right to seek compensation for their losses. However, they must first demonstrate that someone else is liable for their injuries, which may be difficult to accomplish, depending on the strength of a particular case.
In cases that suffer from liability or factual issues, injury victims will find that the insurance companies handling their claims are much less likely to pay a high-dollar lawsuit settlement. They know a weak case when they see one. Hence, an injury victim should probably consider settling if their case is weak or riddled with problematic issues.
Evaluating Costs and The Financial Impact of the Harm You Incurred
Decisions to settle are heavily affected by the financial impact suffered by the victim as well as the monetary and emotional costs associated with the case. An injury victim should hold out for more money when an insurance company comes in with an offer far below the value of the financial impact incurred by the claimant.
In cases where a victim is experiencing overwhelming and immediate financial need, they may want to consider accepting a personal injury settlement. This is especially true if the insurance company will not budge. In other words, when waiting to settle causes more harm than accepting an offer, it’s probably time to settle.
Duration and Complexity of the Case
The vast majority of personal injury cases in Virginia are settled out of court and usually within months of the end of the claimant’s medical treatment. However, some cases simply cannot be settled quickly due to complex issues and other factors involved.
When cases run long due to such issues, victims should be aware that insurance companies typically want to settle rather quickly in many cases. The faster they settle a case and move on, the better things are for their profit margins.
So when a case drags on, it is likely that the insurance company is in the battle for the long haul and feels it has a decent claim defense. If the insurance company tenders an offer, it may be worth it to the claimant to accept the offer before an issue arises that may swing the case in favor of the insurance company.
Evidence and Liability
Personal injury victims seeking compensation for their injuries will run into significant problems in their quest if they fail to prove that someone else is liable. Liability is the cornerstone of all personal injury actions for compensation. Without liability — or any evidence to support liability — there is no case.
Liability in personal injury cases usually arises when one party negligently or unlawfully causes someone else to be injured or killed. When seeking damages for an injury, a victim must show clear evidence of the act or failure to act that led to their accident.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, this evidence might include:
- Video footage from surveillance cameras
- Witness testimony
- Accident reconstruction data
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Company safety records
- Disciplinary reports
Virginia has adopted the standard of contributory negligence. This standard bars victims from recovery for another’s negligence if their own negligence also contributed to the incident. When the evidence is weak, putting liability into question, injury victims should strongly consider settling their case when presented with an offer. Of course, any decision to settle should be discussed in length with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney.
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Represent Me?
If you have suffered a personal injury at the hands of another, you are strongly advised to seek legal counsel to represent you. You will more than likely get far more compensation with an attorney fighting for you. As such, you should reach out to a seasoned professional as soon as possible after your accident.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia?
In Virginia, you have two years after an accident to seek compensation for your losses in most cases. Certain injuries or illnesses caused by others may not develop until after the injurious act. In such instances, the statute of limitations does not start running until the victim becomes aware of the illness or injurious condition.
If the injury victim is a minor, the statute of limitations may not begin running until they reach the age of majority, at which point they will have two years to take legal action.
Should I Be Speaking to the Insurance Company Handling My Claim?
If you have been injured by someone else, you may at some point be contacted directly by the insurance company managing your claim. Always remember that the adjuster you speak with is not on your side.
They are calling to vet your claim and look for any reason to deny it. They will use anything you say against you. Even a statement such as “I’m fine” can be used against you in your claim.
For this reason, victims of personal injuries should not be speaking with the other party’s insurance company. Their attorney should handle all communications related to the claim so they can protect the client’s right to compensation.
Reach Out for Professional Guidance
Determining when to settle a personal injury case is not something you should do without seeking advice and guidance from an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured by someone else, contact the Commonwealth Law Group today and schedule a free consultation and case review.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.