The short answer is to consult a lawyer. However, it is important that a victim of a truck accident understand how cases are evaluated by lawyers, juries and claims adjusters when considering whether or not to accept a settlement.
The first and most important rule in considering a settlement offer is to forget all of the advice told to you by friends and family who know someone that got a million dollar settlement for an injured hangnail. This also means to forget the publicity surrounding cases like the McDonald's hot coffee spill.
The facts, circumstances and law which is applicable to your truck accident case will determine the value of that case. Just because someone else got more in another case with different facts does not mean you are entitled to more.
Most courts and lawyers rely upon established legal case law to determine the value of a particular injury. This value is always expressed in terms of a range of dollars that is reasonable under the circumstances. Some cases settle at the higher end of that range and some settle on the lower end of the range.
Whether the case settles at the top or bottom of the acceptable dollars found reasonable for the injuries involved depends on many factors. One of those factors is the ability to prove liability on the part of the defendant who is offering to settle the case. Another factor is the ability of that defendant to prove that another party or even the plaintiff himself is partly responsible for the injuries in the case.
Obviously, to the extent that others are at fault, one particular defendant will not offer you the full value of your case. Moreover, the facts of the case could result in a swearing match between witnesses for the defense and the plaintiff. In such circumstances, offers could be reduced by as much as 50% to reflect the risk of winning or losing the swearing match.
Another common misperception victims have regarding the value of their case is the dollars actually awarded by juries across this nation for non tangible items like pain and suffering. In some jurisdictions, the death of a person may only bring a sustainable verdict of $250,000 per person who survives the deceased.
Although a human life may seem like it is worth a lot more than $250,000, statutory and case law restrict recovery in many circumstances. The degree of pain and suffering is often more when a victim is severely injured, but survives that if they die.
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