If you’re not happy with your settlement offer, it’s important to know that you have options. In personal injury and wrongful death cases, settlements are often negotiated rather than going to trial. However, if you find yourself dissatisfied with the terms of the settlement offer, you have the right to reject it. In this blog post, we will explore what steps you can take next when you’re not happy with a settlement offer, empowering you with the information you need to make informed decisions and pursue the outcome you deserve.
I’m Not Happy with My Settlement Offer. What Do I Do Now?
Refusing a settlement offer is a regular occurrence, even in grave scenarios like car accidents or wrongful death claims. It is not uncommon for defendants to express disagreement with the requested amount of damages or dispute their liability for the injuries sustained. Consequently, you may wish to refuse to accept their initial offer and they may feel the same way about your counteroffer. However, if your attorney is well-versed in the insurer’s negotiation style, they may be able to suggest a fairer offer.
Once you decline a settlement, it is usually off the table. The defendant is under no obligation to honor the offer if you change your mind or receive new information that alters your perspective. Additionally, the defendant’s valuation of the case may have changed. If you wish to explore the possibility of revisiting a previously refused offer, you can inquire if it is still available, but the defendant is free to accept or reject any new offer you propose.
Negotiations can continue even after rejecting a settlement offer. Your legal representative will utilize factual information and relevant laws in order to persuade the opposing party to present a more favorable offer. Moreover, there is a possibility that a judge may issue a preliminary ruling on specific aspects of the case, or new evidence may emerge, thereby influencing the offers made by both parties involved.
What Are The Consequences If I Decline To Accept A Settlement Agreement?
If you choose not to accept a personal injury settlement offer, the next steps involve proceeding with further legal actions. If you haven’t already filed a lawsuit, you will need to do so to pursue compensation. In the state of Florida, there are specific time limits within which personal injury claims must be filed. Typically, there is a four-year timeframe starting from the date of the injury during which you can initiate such claims. However, for wrongful death and medical malpractice cases, the timeframe is reduced to two years. To ensure you adhere to the appropriate deadline for your potential claim, it is crucial to consult with a qualified attorney. They will be able to provide you with accurate information and guidance tailored to your specific situation.
Is Accepting a Personal Injury Settlement Offer Mandatory?
No, you have no obligation to accept a settlement offer for a personal injury, and there are no legal restrictions on the amount you can request. You have the choice to proceed with a trial instead. Opting for a settlement may result in receiving a lower amount than what could be awarded through a trial. Conversely, taking your case to trial does not guarantee that you will secure a higher sum compared to the settlement offer.
To illustrate this point, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario. Imagine your case is valued at $1,000,000, and based on the circumstances, you have a 60% chance of winning at trial. If you receive a settlement offer of $700,000, you might be tempted to accept it to avoid the uncertainties and costs associated with litigation. However, considering the evidence and legal arguments at hand, you may feel that the offer undervalues your case and believe you can secure a higher amount at trial. Ultimately, accepting or rejecting a settlement offer depends on your willingness to assume the potential risks and uncertainties associated with a trial.
It’s important to note that while some cases may closely resemble others, resulting in similar outcomes, there are instances where your case may have unique or highly disputed facts or involve legal issues that have yet to be previously addressed in court. Complex cases, such as those involving severe spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries, can be particularly challenging to predict in terms of potential outcomes if a settlement offer is declined. Thus, it is crucial to carefully weigh your options and seek legal guidance tailored to your specific situation.
How to Decline a Settlement Offer
Declining a settlement offer can be as simple as expressing a refusal. No elaborate procedures are necessary. Your attorney may request a written response. If a settlement offer has a specified deadline, you can decline it by allowing the deadline to pass without accepting it.
When you choose to present a counteroffer, having your attorney articulate the legal reasoning behind your request to the defendant’s lawyer can be advantageous. This helps ensure that the other party comprehends the basis of your position and the merits of your argument.
Typically, negotiations between your attorney and the opposing counsel take place over the phone. Your attorney will relay the settlement offer to you, and after considering your response, they will communicate with the opposing party’s attorney. A face-to-face meeting may be arranged in certain instances, involving you, the defendant, their lawyer, and your attorney. These meetings can occur during mediation sessions or settlement conferences. However, before making any significant decisions, it is crucial to have a private discussion with your attorney to gain clarity and obtain professional advice on the matter.
Get Help From An Experienced Attorney In Florida
If you are not happy with a settlement offer, it is imperative to seek guidance from an experienced attorney. Pacin Levine, P.A., is available to assist you during this crucial time. Our team of skilled attorneys is prepared to offer expert advice tailored specifically to your case. Don’t miss out on our free legal case consultation; call us at (305) 760-9085 or 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727).
We proudly serve the Greater Coral Gables Area, including Miami, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Kendall, Glenvar Heights, Westchester, West Miami, Brickell, Sweetwater, Doral, Miami Springs, and Miami Beach.