It was a little over two years after the truck crashed into the back of your car when they finally came up with the right amount of money. It had to go all the way to picking a jury before they finally caved.
The judge said it was a very good number. Your lawyer explained that you got most of the truck company’s insurance policy and there was a risk that a jury would give a smaller number. Settling made sense.
It was a lot of money at the time, but the pain didn’t go away, and the mornings are still the worst. Can I call my lawyer and sue them again? No.
When you settle a case, the other side demands that you sign a release before they send your lawyer a check. That release will include a lot of fancy legal words but they nearly all come down to this:
- The payment of the check by the insurance company is part of the agreement to settle the case.
- By settling the case, you agree that you will end the lawsuit and will not sue again.
- By settling the case, your family cannot then step into your shoes when you die and sue for the same accident.
Some releases will include the following:
- By settling the case, you agree that the other side disputes that it caused the crash.
- By settling the case, you agree not to tell other people about the settlement and how much you received.
Many clients want their cases to settle early and move one with their lives. However, insurance adjusters will not make fair offers early in the case. The insurance adjustor might dangle some money in front of the plaintiff, hoping that the plaintiff has so much financial problems that he or she will take a low-ball offer. By accepting a low-ball offer, a plaintiff forever gives up the chance of getting fair compensation.
Some people find it unfair that they cannot sue later if the pain gets worse. But it doesn’t work that way. That is why a good plaintiff trial lawyer will remind a jury in closing statement that this is the one and only opportunity the plaintiff will get to come to court and get justice.
In other words, if the jury doesn’t do justice and give full value for the injury, then justice has been denied. This often inspires juries to look at how long the plaintiff will probably live with this pain which often results in bigger verdicts for a plaintiff.
When deciding to settle a personal injury case, you need to speak with your lawyer and weigh all the pros and cons: Is this too little money? What will a jury do with my case? How much will I be left with after I pay off all the expense and the legal fee? What more expenses are there going to be if we must bring the case to trial and pay all those doctors? How much insurance coverage does the other side have? How much money does a case like mine usually get? Is the most important thing for me to tell my story to a jury?
With all these questions, you need a lawyer you are comfortable with by your side.
As the lawyers at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain can explain, every case, every accident, every lawsuit is different— and so is every settlement offer. Knowing you can’t sue again after you settle your case, make sure you get it right the first time. And that you have the right lawyer by your side.