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Settlement vs. Trial value of Your San Diego Car Accident Claim

September 24th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

I get many people asking me how much can I get if I go to trial? The answer is: I can't exactly tell you how much you will be able to get, because ethically we as attorneys cannot guarantee or predict an outcome.

So, the question then becomes whether it would be in your best interest to move forward to trial versus settling for a sum certain that an insurance company is offering you.

This question requires an analysis of many variables. Lets take a look.

1) How much money is the insurance company offering you?

For sake of discussion lets assume that the insurance company is offering you $15,000 to settle your case.

2) What are your injuries?

Lets assume that you had a neck injury in your accident.

3) How old are you?

35

4) Do you require any future care?

Yes. My doctor has told me that I will require future pain management for my neck and, if that does not help I may ultimately require a surgery.

5) Where in the claims process is your case?

What I mean by this is whether a lawsuit has been filed or not.

6) Is the injury still impacting your life?

Lets assume yes.

If you answer the questions above the way I have answered them, the answer is you should not accept the insurance companies $15,000 settlement offer. There is one caveat to this answer and that is, what is the total amount of insurance policy that the person who caused the accident has? If they only have $15,000, a separate analysis is required. Mainly, whether the insurance company representatives accepted your offer to settle for $15,000 when that demand was made. If the answer is: Yes, then you do not have any further recourse. If the answer is no: You may proceed to obtaining money beyond the policy limits. I have included the article where I talk about this issue below if you are interested.

I am a big proponent of trials. That is because I strongly believe that only 12 people from the community can understand and put a value on your injury and pain, not insurance companies that are only looking at their bottom line.

That being said however, there are some considerations that also need to take place when deciding whether you settle your case or proceed to trial. A big consideration is costs. When you choose to go to trial the costs will increase substantially. And so, what you need to look at is whether the benefits (i.e. the ultimate outcome) will outweigh the costs.

If you do win your case certain ordinary costs are recoverable and, if you or your attorney had sent a specific statutory offer (known as a 998 offer to compromise) you may be entitled to your expert fee costs, which are the bulk of the costs in any trial.

Ultimately, there are many questions that take place before trying a case. That being said however, it never hurts to get a second opinion about your case if you have a feeling that your injury is worth more money.

I have tried many cases where the insurance company offers were very low and a jury awarded the client much more money than the insurance companies offered. Each case needs to be assessed individually.

If you want to discuss your case feel free to reach out to my office at 619-887-4148; send me a direct email at omid@rejalilawfirm.com; reach us via text at 619-485-6313; or write to us here and, we will get back to you.

Don't let the insurance company bully you into a settlement.

Born to get you justice.

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