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Knowing When to Settle and When to File Suit

Filing an insurance claim is like playing a game. And, when out on the field, it helps to know the playbook. Knowing when to settle your claim and when you should file suit is one of the most important strategies you can master. But choose your strategy wisely to ensure you receive fair compensation as soon as possible with as little expense as possible.

When to Settle

The majority of insurance claims are settled out of court. Typically, the parties involved—the plaintiff and the insurance company—can come to a settlement agreement. Reaching an agreement saves both the time and cost of litigation. Cases most likely to settle successfully are those where liability is clear, and the damages are undisputed. Likewise, low-value claims and those involving minor injuries are rarely worth the hassle of a trial.

When to File a Law Suit

You can face many barriers to settling an insurance claim. Sometimes it is necessary to file suit if you’ve tried to settle, but the insurance company will not offer fair compensation. Consider filing suit if the insurance company is denying liability, disputing your losses, or is firm on a lowball settlement offer. You can still attempt to settle after you commence litigation and before trial. Keep in mind you may or may not have the same bargaining power at that point.

A Note of Caution

The only good time to settle or file suit is after you’ve treated your injuries to the fullest extent. Once you receive compensation, you are responsible for all future medical bills, so make sure you have a good idea of your future expenses before you even think about resolving your case.

Playing the Game

Filing suit can be costly and involves the court. It can also significantly prolong your case. You should never file suit unless you cannot settle for fair compensation. Don’t let the insurance adjuster pressure you into signing a settlement agreement. If you don’t know whether you should file suit or try to settle in your case, speak with an attorney. Working with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation, no matter the route you have to take.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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