What’s Next If You Don’t Accept a Personal Injury Settlement Offer?

by May 5, 2022Personal Injury

What’s Next If You Don’t Accept a Personal Injury Settlement Offer?

by May 5, 2022Personal Injury

South Florida woman refusing personal injury settlement offer
South Florida woman refusing personal injury settlement offer

What Happens If You Don’t Accept Your Personal Injury Settlement Offer?

It is more common for injury or wrongful death cases to be settled than to go to trial. However, a settlement cannot be reached unless both parties agree that it is in their interests to settle. If you are not satisfied with a settlement offer, you have the right to reject it. The next step is as follows.

It is normal to refuse a settlement offer. However, settlements are still negotiated even in serious cases, such as car accidents or wrongful death claims.

Defendants may disagree with the amount of damages you request or with whether or not they are at fault for your injury. As a result, you may not want to accept their first settlement offer, and they may not want to accept your offer. However, if your lawyer is familiar with the insurer’s negotiating style, he or she may be able to suggest a more fair offer.

A settlement offer is usually gone once you decline it. The defendant does not have to honor the settlement offer if you change your mind about it or if you learn something that changes your opinion. They may also have changed their opinion about the value of the case. A defendant can accept or reject a new offer that you make if you ask if an offer you refused is still available.

Negotiations can still proceed following a rejection of a settlement offer. By using the facts and law, your attorney will continue to try and persuade the other party to make a better offer. A judge may also make a preliminary ruling about different parts of the case, or new evidence can be discovered that changes either side’s offer.

What Happens If I Don’t Accept a Settlement Agreement?

You will proceed to the next steps if you do not accept a personal injury settlement offer. There might be more hearings and eventually a trial if you have already filed a lawsuit. However, you may lose your case. The judge might dismiss your case, or you might be limited in what you can recover. Additionally, a jury may not find in your favor or award you a lower amount than you expected.

In order to receive compensation, you will need to file a lawsuit if you have not done so already. All personal injury claims must be filed in Florida within four years of the injury date and within two years for wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. Always speak to an attorney to get the exact deadline for your potential claim.

Do I Have to Accept a Personal Injury Settlement Offer?

There is no obligation to accept a settlement offer. Instead, you can take your case to court. There are risks involved with every option. Choosing a settlement might mean you got less than you would have at trial. Taking your case to trial might not get you as much as your settlement offer. A future settlement offer may be less generous if you don’t accept an early settlement offer.

Accepting a settlement offer would be a simple math problem in a simplistic world. With a case worth $800,000 and a 75% chance of winning, settling for $600,000 makes perfect sense. It might be worth settling for a little less if you want to avoid risk. You may only be willing to settle for a higher amount if you’re willing to take on more risk.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know the exact dollar value of your case or your chances of winning. A lawsuit is filed when two parties cannot agree on the amount owed or the likelihood of winning or losing. Judges and juries also approach and view every case differently. Therefore, you can only make informed decisions about similar cases by talking to your lawyer.

In some cases, your case might closely resemble many others, so you should expect the same thing to happen. It’s also possible that your facts are unusual or highly disputed or have a legal issue that hasn’t been evaluated in court. Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries are much less common than car accidents. It can be more difficult to predict what will happen if you don’t accept a settlement offer in more complex cases.

Do I Have The Right To Reject a Settlement Offer?

It is your right to reject any settlement offer you receive for any reason whatsoever. You are not obligated to accept an offer if you don’t want one. There is no law limiting what you can ask for. You can demand any amount from a person who causes a car crash where you were injured. Of course, to settle, you will need to be reasonable, as the other side may reject your counteroffer. Knowing that the offer you receive will have to be backed up by facts, statutes, insurance policy limits and the amount of uncertainty in the case will help you make an informed decision.

For example, your injury case might be settled for the exact cost of your medical bills. Maybe your doctors have already told you that you are fully recovered and do not need to worry about anything in the future.

You may have missed time from work or incurred additional childcare costs while you were hospitalized. Should the settlement offer not compensate you for lost wages and additional expenses, you may decide to reject it. Depending on the supporting information you have, it might be possible to convince the other side to pay all or most of those expenses. In addition, you may reach a number that isn’t exactly what you want but is better than spending more time in court and risking receiving less. However, you will not be able to convince the other side to accept your counteroffer if you request a much higher amount.

A settlement offer may only be accepted or rejected by you alone. It is your attorney’s job to advise you on what to do, but they must also inform you of all settlement offers made by the other party. Attorneys should not make decisions for you based solely on their opinion or what they will make in attorney’s fees.

How To Decline a Settlement Offer

A settlement offer can be declined by simply saying no. No special steps are required. You may, however, be asked to respond in writing by your attorney or the defendant. You can also decline a settlement offer if it has a deadline by ignoring it until that deadline expires. Once you decide on a higher offer, it’s often a good idea to let your attorney explain the legal reasons for your request to the defendant’s lawyer.

Often, your lawyer will negotiate by phone with the defendant’s lawyer. During those discussions, a settlement offer will be made, and your attorney will contact you. After you respond, your lawyer will contact the other party’s attorney. In some cases, you may meet the defendant, his or her lawyer, and your lawyer in person at a mediation or settlement conference. Before making a major decision, you should talk privately with your attorney before saying no to any offers.

Get Help from an Experienced Attorney in Florida

Knowing when to refuse a settlement offer can be difficult. The outcome of a case can be very different if a plaintiff has common injuries, even if the facts or laws apply to the case. The insurance company is often trying to minimize what they have to pay, so their goal is to minimize what they have to pay. Having an attorney by your side is your only legal option to get the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.

For a FREE case evaluation to learn more about what your case might be worth or whether you should refuse a settlement offer you received, contact the Bodden and Bennett Law Group online or call us at (561) 806-5229.

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