When to Offer a Compromise in a Car Accident Law Suit?

Sometime people just cannot agree on a given issue. The court system is the last ditch way that we have in the United States to force a resolution and solve a problem. The court system can solve disputes because the orders of the court must be followed. If a party won’t pay a judgment, the court can issue a lien on their property, or even garnish their wages. But the court is a last ditch effort for a reason. It takes a long time, and it’s expensive. If two parties can ever agree on a reasonable solution without court, they should. Because a car accident can be one of the most significant events of your life, reaching a good outcome is very important. That is why it is often that injury victims have trouble agreeing with insurance companies as to settlement amounts. If you or a loved one is having trouble reaching a reasonable settlement, you can consider mediation, arbitration, or litigation to involve a third party to help get the conflict resolved. An experienced personal injury attorney who understands the law can help frame your argument into a persuasive one. If you have attempted to reach a settlement, and cannot, you should likely hire an attorney. Most people find that hiring an attorney from the get-go, will add teeth to their case and therefore will add a great deal of value to their claim.

offering a hand shake
Source Photo Credits: Richard North
Keep in mind that even after hiring an attorney, only the injured party has the ultimate right to either accept or reject a settlement offer. The advantage the attorney gives you is that they will know how much your claim is truly worth. Its difficult to know whether or not an offer is good if you have no idea how much your commodity is actually worth. Imagine trying to sell a car without researching values online or comparing it to what other cars are going for. That transaction will likely not go well. If you do choose to go it alone, remember that mediation and arbitration are options to explore before formal litigation. They are quicker, and cheaper, but they are not binding, you may end up in litigation in the end anyway.

Negotiation is an art, it takes a lot of practice, know the process by which the insurance company is valuing your claim to get their number. Know how to justify your own number. Once you have gone through that process, and you feel that you have truly gotten to the insurance company’s highest possible offer, you now have a decision to make. Keep the following in mind as you do that:

  1. Be positive that you have truly arrived at the highest offer available.
  2. Do not accept the first offer on the table.
  3. Counteroffer numbers that are much higher than a number you will settle for.
  4. Make sure that their number has moved up considerably from the original offer.
  5. Ask questions like, “is that the highest number you are authorized to offer to avoid litigation?”

Keep in mind that time is money. If you get an offer that is close to what you think is fair. Take it. If you know all the applicable laws, you document everything well, you represent your interests persuasively and you are a master negotiator, you may be able to accept a settlement offer without feeling like you were hustled. If you would like to have all those things done for you, while ending up with more money in your pocket, you may want to set up a free consultation with an attorney who specializes in this field.


This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes.  It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.  You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.