This Blog concerns whether or not a personal injury victim should or should not accept the offer that is made by the insurance company. Let’s assume that a victim is driving his car and is sideswiped by a tractor trailer truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Assume further that the innocent personal injury victim suffers severe back and neck injuries. He has to have a reconstructive hip surgery for the damages caused by the tractor trailer driver’s negligence.

It’s likely, at some point, that just prior to trial there will be an offer made by the insurance company from the trucking company to try to settle the case.

Let’s assume further that the offer is $250,000. The question is whether the personal injury victim should accept the offer? At some point, almost always the client will ask the question, “What do you think? Should I accept the offer or not?”

What factors go into what the attorney advises the accident victim under these circumstances? I think the first thing that the client should be told is that there are certain conditions concerning any lawsuit that they will be subject to. Specifically, any offer that is made by the insurance company will not be known by the jury. In Pennsylvania it is strictly prohibited for a jury to be told what the offer is from the insurance company.

In plain English, this means the jury is not told that the insurance company offered you $250,000. That is the danger in rolling the dice and going to trial. The jury could give you considerably less than the $250,000 offer.

In that nightmare situation, you are in the worst of all worlds because not only do you have to accept the lower award the jury gave you, but in addition, you have run up extra expenses that you wouldn’t have incurred if you had taken the $250,000 offer. It is not at all uncommon for a surgeon to charge $3,000 for testifying in your case. That is an example of a charge you would not have incurred had you taken the offer.

Again, you could decide to go to trial and the jury would give you $500,000 for your injuries. In that case, it was obviously worth it to go to trial.

The point of all this is that there are huge risks involved in deciding whether or not to accept the insurance company’s offer. Your attorney can give you his best opinion concerning what you should do, but ultimately it is always your call whether to accept the offer or go to trial.