A pretrial settlement is when the parties in a lawsuit come together before trial to work out payment for injuries and losses. Rather than undergoing the entire trial process, the parties attempt to negotiate and come to terms on the payment rather than relying on a judge to issue a damages award. This can occur out of court, often with a mediator present during negotiations.
There are several benefits to pretrial settlements. For one, the parties may be able to save costs on trial and other legal fees. Secondly, they might be able to reach a settlement agreement that is more accurate than if they had the court calculate a damages award.
However, settlement is not always an option, especially if the parties have a disagreement on one of the terms. In such cases, the parties may sometimes reach a partial settlement, and then litigate the disputed terms in court.
Pretrial settlements can occur in any personal injury setting, so long as the parties are willing to work together. They are common in cases such as automobile accident claims, which can be complicated due to the interaction of other parties like insurance companies. They are also common where the defendant is a business owner who doesn’t wish to sacrifice business time for court appearances. A common example of this is slip and fall claims that occur in a business establishment.
It’s usually up to the parties to work out how they want the settlement payments to be paid out. In some cases, the paying party may be willing to issue one lump sum payment in full. However, there may be negative tax consequences for the recipient party with a lump sum payment. Thus, many plaintiffs choose other payment plans, such as a structured settlement plan where the payments are made on a cyclical, periodic basis.
You may wish to hire a personal injury lawyer near you if you are involved in a personal injury claim and are considering settlement as an option. Your lawyer can help represent you and guide you through the settlement process from start to finish.