A settlement offer can come at any time. It can come at the beginning of the case, the middle of a case or even during trial.
The defense may make an offer that is insulting to you. They may make an offer that sounds reasonable. They may also make an offer that is way above what you perceive your case is worth. All of these are possibilities.
Keep in mind that the defense and their insurance company have a specific agenda. Their agenda is to resolve your case and pay out as little as possible. Their goal is to minimize the risk of going to trial and getting hit for verdict over and above what they believe the case is worth.
Your agenda is entirely opposite. Your goal is to get the maximum value possible for your injuries.
When a settlement offer is made and communicated by the defense lawyer to me, I am obligated to tell you about the offer no matter how little or how much is offered. My goal is to then educate you about the risks and benefits associated with either accepting or rejecting the offer. I will always give you an opinion about the settlement offer and ultimately it is up to you to decide whether to accept or to reject the offer.
If I believe this settlement offer is a good one, I will tell you. If you disagree and choose to reject the offer I will then go back to the defense lawyer and let him know the offer is not acceptable and see if he is willing to negotiate further. If he makes another offer, I will again relay that information to you and discuss it again. However, there will reach a point where no further settlement offer will be made and you must make a decision about whether to accept or to reject an offer.
Keep in mind that if you reject a settlement offer that means you will likely force your case to go to trial.
Many injured victims think it's no big deal to go to trial since they are not paying any money out of their own pocket initially and there's no skin off their back to force the case to trial. What they do not realize is that there is a significant risk that they could lose the case or receive less than what has already been offered.
If you accept a settlement offer, it is guaranteed money. In most medical malpractice and accident cases a settlement is not taxable since it is not considered income.
If you have more questions about settlement offers and your matter happened here in the state of New York and you do not have an attorney, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call me since I can answer your legal questions. This is what I do every single day and I welcome your call. You can reach me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected]