People who get into car wrecks with commercial firms sometimes find themselves on the receiving end of what seems like a generous check. This is because the commercial firm is protecting itself, not because they’re filled with regret and concern about your situation. Understanding settlement offers should make it apparent why you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer in these cases.
What Is a Settlement?
The word “settle”, in the legal sense, has several meanings. Basically, a settlement means that you put a conflict to rest permanently. This can be done in various ways, but, where lawsuits are concerned, it’s usually done out of court. This makes clear a few things about taking a settlement offer from a commercial trucking or driving firm or from anyone else, for that matter:
- You’re entering into a legally-binding arrangement
- You’re likely giving up the right to sue
- You’re signing a legal document without an attorney to advise you
The settlements that these firms hand out are not designed to make your life easier. The people that figured out how much to offer work for the commercial firm, not for you. They’ll try to figure out how much they have to pay you to get you to go away and not make any legal trouble for them over the incident in the future. There are ways that settlements can work, however.
Making a Settlement Work
Rather than taking whatever check that a trucking company or other commercial firm hands you and heading off to the bank, speak to a personal injury attorney. They’ll be able to advise you on the matter. If they think that the settlement is all you’re going to get from the case, they’ll just advise you to take it and be grateful. If they don’t, however, and if they feel that the trucking company is just trying to buy you off, then they may advise you to go ahead and sue or to negotiate the settlement further.
Negotiating a Settlement
If you negotiate a settlement, you’re likely to get more. A injury attorney might be able to negotiate more than enough to pay for their fees and still allow you to go home with a bigger check. Consider the advantages that an attorney has in these situations:
- They know the legal risks to the person offering the check
- They know how much similar cases pay out
- They know how much court fees would be, giving them leverage with the party offering
- They know how much other people in your situation end up paying in expenses related to the injury
Talk to a personal injury attorney if you’re offered a check. They may feel that the company offering you the check is being generous and tell you to take it or they may want you a client, if they feel that you’re being treated unfairly by the company in question. Either way, at least you’ll know whether or not the settlement is a good one and whether it’s worth taking it or not or if you should file a lawsuit, instead.