Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Is Your Settlement Offer Fair?

As a Kansas City personal injury attorney with over 16 years’ worth of experience, I often get calls from potential clients who have handled their claim for money compensation on their own. They’re calling to find out if the offer is fair so they can decide whether to hire a lawyer or take the offer and settle their case. Here’s what I ask to determine that.

1. Is the injury permanent?

Despite the miracles of modern medicine, there are some injuries that doctors just can’t fix. These are the kind that will be with you in some degree for the rest of your life. When an injury will last a lifetime, the settlement should take into account a lifetime worth of damages. Even minor permanent injuries, like a pop in the knee or a dull pain in the back, should be reflected in the settlement offer.

2. Where did it happen?

The location of the negligent act determines where the case will be tried, if necessary. Missouri law says the county where the injury occurred is the county where the case must be filed. Because jurors are summoned for jury duty from the county where the case is getting tried, the verdicts are different too. Its more difficult to get fair verdicts in some counties than others.

If you got hurt in one of those counties, you may get a lower settlement offer because insurance companies and businesses are aware of the differences in court venues.

3. Is the liability clear?

Another factor I take into account when considering the fairness of a settlement offer is the clarity of the liability. Did the defendant clearly do something wrong to cause you injury?

Generally speaking, the more obvious the defendant’s fault, the larger the offer should be. This is because jurors tend to compromise their verdicts when they’re not convinced the defendant was in the wrong, resulting in lower damage awards. This is often reflected in settlement offers leading up to trial.

If you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s negligence and are wondering whether you should take an offer or file suit, you’re welcome to call my firm at 816-867-8611. We’d be happy to discuss your case at no charge.