A settlement occurs when opposing parties to a lawsuit resolve the case out of court. Settling a personal injury case may happen before or after the trial starts. Typically, the process for settling the case starts with a settlement offer.
What Is a Settlement Offer?
A settlement offer is typically a proposed payment made by a defendant or insurer to the plaintiff. Once an offer is made negotiations begin. A plaintiff may:
- Reject the offer.
- Accept the offer.
- Propose additional or different terms. When a plaintiff proposes new terms, the defendant has the right to accept or reject those terms.
When parties agree to a settlement, a personal injury settlement is made. An offer can also come from a plaintiff.
What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?
A personal injury settlement is an agreement between two parties. The final terms are described in a written document. The written agreement contains:
- Names and contact information of each party involved in the case.
- Money amount of the agreement.
- Terms of the payment. This could be a lump sum or a series of payments.
- Legal consequences if the defendant fails to pay.
What Are the Advantages to Settling a Case?
For the plaintiff, the advantages of settling a case are:
- Guaranteed victory
- Avoid a long trial
- Money sooner, rather than later
The advantages for a defendant settling a case are:
- Control the money the plaintiff receives
- Avoid legal costs
- Avoid future lawsuits, as a plaintiff usually has to give up the right to sue the defendant in the future over any issue pertaining to the underlying case
Should I Talk to an Attorney about Settling a Personal Injury Case?
Agreeing to a settlement requires you to give up some rights. Before entering negotiations, you should talk with a personal injury attorney. The attorney will work to protect your legal rights while resolving your personal injury claim.