The average settlement of a car accident in Texas was about $15,000 a few years ago. That may seem like a lot of money. But on the other hand, if may be far less than the case value. If you have been in a car wreck, how do you know what your auto accident case is worth? How do you know if you should file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve?
The only way to know is to have a good car accident attorney on your side. When you are facing the pain and stress of being injured on top of mounting medical bills and lost income, it may be tempting to take whatever amount the adjuster offers. He or she is counting on that. It’s a mistake to try to negotiate the case yourself. You can cost yourself a lot of money. An experienced attorney can protect you.
1. Settling versus litigating
The number above is only for illustration. Your case may be worth more or less than that figure. You need to have an understanding of what your accident case is worth in the courts in North Texas. You don’t know because you have never been through this process before. However an experienced attorney does this all the time. He will provide you with the information you need to weigh settling out of court versus going to trial.
Here is more information that we at Berenson Injury Law consider to analyze how much a car or truck accident case is worth.
To make sure you’re making the right call when it comes to settling versus litigating, be sure you have the benefit of the knowledge of an experienced board-certified injury attorney on your side.
2. The Offer of Settlement rule
If it is in your best interest to file suit, the attorneys for the insurance company can invoke the “offer of settlement” rule in court. That’s a law that can allow the court to shift the obligation for paying attorney’s fees and court costs from one party to the other.
Here’s how it works. You and your legal team make a qualifying settlement offer to the defense. If the defense rejects your offer and the jury verdict in your case is more than 120% of what your offer was, then the court can issue an order forcing the defendant to pay some of the litigation-related costs that you otherwise would have been responsible for paying on your own. These litigation costs can be expensive, so being able to use this process and win an award of these costs can be very important to you.
There’s a flip side as well. Say the defense makes a settlement offer to you. You reject it, your case goes to trial and the jury returns a damages award that is 80% or less of the settlement offer amount or finds for the defense outright. If that happens, then the defense can force you to pay some of its attorneys’ fees and certain other litigation costs.
Here’s an example. You suffered substantial injuries in an intersection crash caused by an 18 wheeler in Fort Worth. You and your legal team file a lawsuit and eventually make a qualifying settlement offer of $500,000. The defendants reject it and, at the trial’s end, the jury awards you $750,000 in damages. That $750,000 sum is 150% of your $500,000 settlement offer, so you’ve cleared the 120% hurdle and can now pursue an award of costs under the rule.
On the reverse side, say that you’re in a rear-end accident in Fort Worth. The defense makes an offer of settlement of $45,000. If you reject it, you would need the jury to award at least $36,000 in damages or else the defense could obtain an award of fees and costs that you would have to pay.
We can help you
Berenson Injury Law has been helping injured drivers and passengers for nearly 40 years. We can put our skill and our experience to work for you to get you the best possible result.
For your free case review, contact us today at 1-888-801-8585 or email us online.