Settlement Should Not Be Your Only Option
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages. As a general rule, most cases end in a settlement — rather than allow a case to proceed all the way through to trial, the defendant will typically negotiate a monetary compromise with the plaintiff.
Effective negotiation is critical to successful car accident litigation, but it’s important that your attorney be a capable trial litigator as well. Each of these skillsets have a significant impact on one another during litigation.
Let’s take a closer look.
Basics of Settlement Negotiation
Settlement negotiations are fundamentally about “uncertainty.” When you bring a lawsuit against the defendant(s), there is almost always an element of uncertainty. For example, the defendant may be able to circumvent liability altogether. Importantly, even if you can strategically corner the defendant and prove that they are liable, there may be uncertainty about the damages amount that you are entitled to receive.
Now, this uncertainty has an effect during settlement negotiations, as a settlement is essentially an approximation of the risk to each party (and referenced against the total damages).
How does this work?
Suppose that you are injured in a car accident and have damages of roughly $100,000. The defendant cannot avoid liability, but they argue that your damages are only $50,000. All else being equal, the settlement compromise is likely to hover around $75,000, if each party has a 50 percent chance of success in establishing the actual damages.
The settlement amount is likely to shift due to a variety of factors, from the percentage chance of success, to the severity of the accident (and the possibility that a jury will view the plaintiff favorably), to the willingness of the plaintiff to pursue trial litigation.
Settlement Offers May Be Impacted by an Inability to Effectively Litigate a Case at Trial
Many attorneys are a bit “cowardly” when it comes to trial litigation. Though settlement is often a win-win for all involved, it can be less effective if the plaintiff’s attorney is not willing to take a case to trial and fight aggressively on behalf of their client. The defendant’s settlement compromise is a reflection of their perception of risk — if they believe that the plaintiff’s counsel is unable to effectively litigate a claim at trial, then they may lower their settlement offer accordingly, or simply proceed to trial in the hopes that they can win outright.
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensively litigated car accident disputes, both in pre-litigation situations and at trial. We take an aggressive stance towards litigation to ensure that the defendant takes your case seriously and makes a legitimate settlement offer.
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation
Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in a variety of motor vehicle accident litigation, including car accident disputes. We understand the unique pressures and challenges that injury plaintiffs must overcome in order to recover the compensation they deserve and are committed to working closely with clients to ensure that they are well-equipped to succeed.
We believe that personalized service is most effective. Unlike many of our competitors, we take the time to fully evaluate the circumstances surrounding each claim and develop a comprehensive strategy for litigating said claim. This detail-oriented mindset has helped us achieve significant case results (verdicts and settlements) over the years.