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How do I know whether to settle or sue in a personal injury case?

If you are involved in an accident and the negligence of another person is responsible, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. In some instances, this might involve seeking recovery for loss of income or coverage of medical expenses (especially if your own insurance only goes so far).

If the loss suffered is a deeper one -- the loss of a loved one -- the potential compensation that might be sought in Texas may be influenced by additional factors. There are going to be funeral costs. And while no amount of money can possibly address the issue, there is a value that deserves to be considered for the loss of companionship to survivors.

But just because a legitimate claim may exist doesn't mean that full-scale litigation is going to be required. Indeed, experienced attorneys know that most claims, whether they are for injury or wrongful death, tend to be settled through negotiation. Very often terms are reached before a suit is even filed.

The mere possibility of a suit is something that potential defendants tend to want to avoid because of the fallout from bad publicity. Indeed, that is something you might want to avoid, too.

In any case, the first step that should be taken is to consult with a trusted attorney to assess the merits of your case and determine if settlement is possible or if a suit might be required. Following are some questions that deserve consideration in making a decision.

  • How strong is your evidence?
  • How strong is the evidence on the other side?
  • How have similar cases fared before a jury?
  • What is the likely bottom line for you in any possible scenario?
  • What tax implications could you face if you win your claim?
  • What might you be willing to give up to settle the case?

In the end, the decision is yours to make. It's best to make it with the benefit of trusted legal advice.

Source: FindLaw, "Resolution Before Trial: Settlement," accessed Oct. 7, 2015

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