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Is settling too soon a bad idea for drunk driving victims?

On Behalf of | Sep 17, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drunk driving remains a serious problem in New York, and persons hurt by drunk drivers may find themselves looking at significant medical and other expenses. Replacing a totaled vehicle and covering various bills when out of work seems daunting. When the negligent driver’s attorney or insurance company offers a settlement, some might wonder if they should quickly accept. Several factors may play a role in the decision to settle or not.

Fundamental points about settlements

A significant purpose for settling involves using the funds to pay for various costs related to the accident. Settling too soon could undercut the ability to find out the extent of injuries. A full diagnosis might take time, and, unfortunately, there’s the chance the doctors may miss something.

Once someone settles, the case closes because the settlement typically comes with a “release of liability,” ending all future claims. If it turns out someone has worse injuries than realized and requires further care and rehabilitation, revisiting a legal claim against the drunk driver does not become an option.

Waiting for the settlement

Drunk driving accidents could leave the negligent driver facing criminal charges. The driver might even look at a near-certain conviction for manslaughter. Imagine a situation where the drunk driver pleads guilty to various charges. The accident victim could have a more substantial hand in court, adding to settlement negotiation leverage.

Accident victims must be aware that an insurance policy only pays to its limits. Suing above a policy is an option but likely only worthwhile when the negligent party has enough assets to cover the additional judgment. Receiving a judgment for a substantial sum might not mean much when there’s never a chance to collect.