Victims who are injured in an accident that resulted from another person’s negligence have two primary options in terms of recovering compensation to pay for their losses and damages. They can either recover compensation out of court through mutual negotiations, or they can take their case to trial. Although the majority of personal injury settlements are negotiated and agreed upon outside of court, it is imperative to retain a personal injury lawyer who is ready and willing to take your case to civil court. Also, taking a claim to court usually results in higher compensation. It all depends in the settlement process. Continue reading to learn the general steps to settling a personal injury claim, in and out of court.
When Does a Settlement Happen?
A settlement takes place when an insurer or defending party makes an offer for compensation, and the victim or plaintiff accepts the offer. This often happens outside of court. In fact, many agreements are made before a claim is even filed. If the victim has trouble receiving a fair offer, their lawyer would suggest taking the case to civil court.
Settlements can also be made after a case goes to trial, but before a final verdict is made. Other times, parties might become anxious during jury deliberations, and decide to settle before their verdict comes back. This is because some defendants would rather agree to a set settlement, rather than allowing a jury to decide their fate.
Full Liability Release
Once a settlement is agreed upon between both parties, the plaintiff must sign a full liability release form that relinquishes all potential claims against the defendant arising out of the accident or incident. This way, the plaintiff cannot file any further lawsuits for more compensation against the defendant later on. For instance, in a slip and fall case, a store may offer a victim $25,000, but in order to receive the payment, the victim must agree to not sue the store.
Most Cases Settle
The reason why most cases settle is because the defendant wants to mitigate and control their risks and avoid legal costs. Most personal injury cases involve insurance companies, who have the finances to pay out claims quickly. They even expect to pay out some claims because they are averse risk. If a claim goes to trial, they lose some control over how much they pay in recompense, as well as, court costs, attorney fees, and other legal expenses. Also, many companies settle claims because they want to avoid the public eye. With so many social media platforms these days, it is easy for one incident to result in a company being publicly criticized for their negligence.