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Is settling a product liability lawsuit right for me?

Whether it's better to settle a product liability lawsuit or go to trial depends on the circumstances surrounding your case and what you hope to get out of your claim. Therefore, it is imperative that you carefully consider every aspect of your unique situation to determine if the offered settlement is adequate. We will briefly discuss some of the elements that should be considered when contemplating a settlement, but this post should not be considered legal advice as each instance should be assessed on an individual basis.

First, you should be sure to determine who you may be able to hold liable for your harm. In product liability cases, there may be more than one party to sue. For example, a manufacturer may have produced a product with a defect or without proper labeling, and another company may have designed the product with safety flaws. This is an important step in settlement considerations as accepting a settlement may release other parties from liability.

Second, get a full picture of the extent of your damages. Though this may sound easy, it can actually be quite difficult to calculate. You might suffer medical expenses and lost wages, but for how long? How extensive will your medical care need to be? Would your income have increased over the time that you are unable to work? Determining the extent of your harm may require expert testimony, and is crucial in deciding whether a settlement offer is adequate.

Lastly, you should consider how any settlement amount you receive will be treated by your insurance company. If you have received insurance money for medical expenses, then that amount may be subtracted from your settlement. In other words, you might have to pay some of your settlement back your insurance provider. Therefore, a settlement amount that seems great at first might actually be far too low.

If you have been hurt by a dangerous product, then you should consider speaking about your legal options with an experienced attorney. He or she can then advise you as to your likelihood of recovering compensation and holding a negligent company accountable.

Source: FindLaw, "Settling Products Liability Claims," accessed on May 15, 2015

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