When victims of motor vehicle accidents in California decide to take legal action, they decide to do so with the intent of imposing liability and recovering compensation. Sometimes this requires aggressive litigation at trial. In many cases, though, these matters can be settled through negotiations. Before settling a case, though, a car accident victim needs to consider several factors to determine if settling is in his or her best interests.
The first and most obvious thing to assess is the strength of the case. One way to conduct this analysis is to look at the outcomes of cases with similar facts. Then, using a critical legal eye, a car accident victim can determine the likelihood that he or she will succeed at trial. This requires analyzing the evidence at hand and how the law applies to the circumstances of one's case. Such an analysis may unveil legal challenges such as witness unavailability, evidence counter to one's position and even adverse rulings in similarly situated cases. The last step in determining the strength of a case is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the defendant's case.
The next step is to look at the risks and rewards of each action from a financial standpoint. If a victim has a firm grasp of what his or her case is worth, then he or she will better be able to determine whether a settlement offer is too low. It's also wise to consider the defendant's ability to pay damages. If the increase in monetary reward likely to be won at trial is unpayable, then a settlement may be the best option.
These are just a few of the many factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to settle a personal injury claim. However, even when anticipating settlement negotiations, car accident victims do themselves a favor when they build their case in anticipation of litigation. Doing so leaves them with strong legal arguments to use at the negotiation table.