Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em: When Should You Settle, And Why?

by Aaron Gartlan

December 9, 2015 | Your Case Value

Our Alabama personal injury and accident trial lawyers at the Gartlan Injury Law in Dothan are delighted you have join this review of factors that impact your decision to settle or move forward with litigation or trial in your case.

The short answer and a summary of when to settle your personal injury, wrongful death and accident case is when you know and believe that you have gotten every penny that you can out of the case and are reasonably satisfied with the outcome considering all of the facts and circumstances involved and the applicable law. Of course this must be discussed with your lawyer in order to make the best decision for your family and you.

How do you know when you are ready to settle? Every case is different and must rest on the facts and circumstances involved, as well as the law that applies. However, it generally all goes back to trial preparation. Once the case has been investigated and worked up properly and evaluated as if it were going to trial, then your lawyer in should be in the best position at that point to evaluate the case. This can include bringing in medical, psychological, legal, financial, engineering, accident reconstruction, investigative, and sometimes other experts. Even if a lawsuit is never filed and the case does not see the courtroom, personal injury and accident cases should be prepared for trial. When this is done, your lawyer is in the best position to be able to make an assessment of the value of the case, taking the following factors and others into account: conduct of the parties, the available insurance coverage, potential defenses, liability, injuries and damages, and where the lawsuit would be filed and ultimately heard.

Every injury victim’s needs are different. It’s impossible to give a blanket answer to this question. Variables that can influence your willingness to settle and your flexibility include:

  • Your financial and medical needs, both short-term and long-term – For example: how important are the funds to your life, well-being and long-term care needs?
  • The difference between your ideal offer and the proposed settlement offer. If this gap is small, you may be inclined to accept. If there is a big gulf between your desire and the offer, you may want to press on with the fight.
  • Your need for closure. In some cases, victims just want to conclude negotiations fast and “get their lives back to normal.” In other cases, the need for justice is higher. This difference can also influence your decision to press on or not.
  • The strength of your case. How compelling is the case that you can potentially build? Are there holes the defense can exploit? What’s the likelihood that you will win at trial?
  • The opinion of your seasoned Alabama personal injury lawyer. Odds are, this is (hopefully) your first time being injured and potentially launching a lawsuit. Your injury lawyer, on the other hand, has years of experience. Based on that experience, he or she can suggest your most likely path to best success, as defined by your needs and values.

Your state of mind. Are you capable of dealing with the stress and uncertainty of a trial?

Again, this is just a brief overview of factors to consider when evaluating an offer in a case. Of course, this must be discussed in detail and considered within the parameters of sound legal advice. Our personal injury lawyers are available to answer your questions day and night, so do not hesitate to reach out to the Gartlan Injury Law for the answers


Aaron Gartlan is a graduate of Troy University and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law who focuses his practice exclusively on representing those injured by the wrongdoing of others. He is member of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal practice, Aaron teaches Business Law as an adjunct instructor at Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business and serves as a field artillery sergeant in the Alabama National Guard.

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