Should the Time Value of Money Effect My Decision to Accept a Settlement? (Part 1/3)

If you’ve recently been in an auto accident in North Carolina you are aware of the process required before you are able to recover for any damages you or your property sustained.  Determining when to accept a settlement can be a source of contention between attorneys and their clients.

The decision to accept a settlement rests ultimately with the client.  The attorney has discretion to make other decisions in carrying out his role to competently represent the client; however, the decision to accept a settlement for the client.  This is where many attorneys and clients find themselves up in arms because the two concepts don’t meet in perfect harmony.

In the event of a personal injury in North Carolina, the attorney works with all parties including medical providers and insurance companies to protect the injured party’s interest while working towards a recovery.  Depending on the length of this process, in most situations the insurance company and the law firm began negotiating.  This is when the game begins.  Generally speaking an attorney—or a good one at least—won’t stop negotiating with the insurance company for a higher settlement until he believes it’s the highest realistic settlement offer or he has another strategic card up his sleeve. 

Once the attorney believes that all possible benefit has been squeezed from the negotiation process, typically the client will decide to accept or reject the settlement offer.  If the client decides not to accept that offer, then the offer is rejected.  In most situations, at this point the case prepares for trial.  Witnesses are deposed, experts are hired, trial strategy is mapped out two hundred times, analysis is conducted on potential jurors based on previous experiences and psychological impact to determine what an appropriate jury of “peers” would likely resemble.  Prior to all of this, there are back and forth motions and briefs submitted.