Personal injury settlements occur when the parties in an injury case agree on the amount to be paid for damages. This generally occurs outside of the court system, usually before trial has started or shortly after it has begun. Settlement may begin when one party makes a settlement offer to the other side. This may be done in cases where it may be clear that the other party might win, or where the parties do not wish to spend their time in an extended litigation situation.
After an offer has been made, the other party may accept it, reject it, or enter into negotiations on the amount. In some instances, the parties may need a mediator to assist with the settlement negotiations. In any event, many personal injury cases end up in settlement rather than the full scope of litigation.
What Is a Personal Injury Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement may be formed once the parties begin coming to terms on the various aspects of the settlement amount. The agreement may take form as negotiations proceed and the parties become clearer about what they want. The agreement may cover issues such as:
- Compensation for economic losses
- Payment of various fees associated with the legal process
- Provisions regarding whether litigation will still be an option in the future
- Method, manner, and timing of the payments
- Consequences for breaching the agreement
Once finalized, the settlement agreement will operate as a contract between the parties, securing their interests in the settlement amounts. They may present the agreement to a judge to have it enforced as a legally binding document.
What Are Partial Settlements?
In some personal injury cases, the parties might not be able to settle on all the terms of the claim. For instance, they might agree about the amount of property damage to a car during pre-trial settlements, but they might also disagree about the plaintiff’s physical injuries.
In such instances, the parties might form a partial settlement regarding the terms that they do agree on. They may then pass the remaining unresolved issues through litigation to have them decided by the judge. This generally depends on the facts of each case, as well as the decisions of each party.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Personal Injury Settlements?
Obtaining a settlement can involve many steps and may sometimes be quite a complex task. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you need assistance with a personal injury settlement. Your attorney can guide you through the process and can inform you of what options are available for you. Also, your lawyer can represent you if you need to attend any meetings or court hearings.