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Should victims settle serious motor vehicle accident claims?

Settlements are legal options for California residents who engage in litigation. They can, when properly negotiated and executed, provide victims with financial relief and curtail the need for the parties to go to court over their outstanding claims. However, settlements are not always in the best interests of personal injury victims. This post will explore settlements in the context of personal injuries and why victims of motor vehicle accidents should always consult with attorneys before accepting offers to settle their claims. This post provides no legal advice to its readers.

When is a settlement a good idea?

There are scenarios when motor vehicle accident victims may want to settle their claims. For example, when a victim is involved in a minor accident that only results in property damage with no personal injuries, their accident-related losses may be small and finite based on the costs of repairing their vehicle. When it is possible to see the end of a victim’s accident-related costs, it may be useful for them to settle their claim and recover their small losses without litigation.

Why shouldn’t’ all accident victims settle their claims?

As readers know, not all accidents are minor fender benders. Some accidents are life-threatening events that may forever alter the course of victims’ lives. When a victim sustains life-threatening harm and permanent disabilities as a result of their accident, the full extent of their costs may not be realized in the immediate aftermath of their motor vehicle crash.

Once a victim accepts a settlement offer, they generally lose their right to sue for further damages on their accident-related claims. Responsible parties often condition the payment of settlements on the waiver of victims’ future rights to sue. If a seriously injured victim waives their right to future damages through a settlement, they may be left to pay for their own accident-related expenses long into the future.

This post does not advise any readers on whether to accept settlements. It is information that may help individuals ask good questions of their attorneys when they seek legal support after suffering losses in motor vehicle accidents.