Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Recovering damages for injuries sustained in a personal injury accident does not always require a jury verdict. Often, a victim will file a lawsuit and, with the assistance and counsel of a personal injury attorney, engage in settlement negotiations with the defendant that result in financial recoveries.
Advantages to Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
There are several advantages to settling a personal injury lawsuit before going to trial including:
- Lower cost: while personal injury attorneys are typically paid a percentage of the client’s negotiated recovery, court costs including expert witness fees are often greatly reduced and the overall cost of settling a personal injury case is usually less than taking it to trial.
- Faster resolutions: parties that settle a personal injury lawsuit are free from the constraints of the crowded court docket and can settle at any time. Plaintiffs typically receive their damage awards sooner if they settle than if they proceed to trial.
- Control: settling a personal injury lawsuit allows you to remain in control. You do not have to agree to a settlement unless you believe that it is in your best interest. You are not at the mercy of a judge or jury to decide the outcome of case. This feeling of control often reduces stress for the parties to the lawsuit and may increase their satisfaction with the resolution of the case.
How to Settle a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The first steps in settling a personal injury lawsuit are the same steps that are taken when it is your intention to pursue litigation. It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can gather and analyze the evidence in your case, file your case in court in a timely fashion and advise you about the potential damages to which you may be entitled.
It is important to understand the potential damages that you might recover and to understand what your case is worth before you begin settlement negotiations. This knowledge will help you make a strong case during negotiations and recognize a fair settlement offer if one is presented by the other party.
Once you and your personal injury lawyer have prepared for negotiations then you can begin talking with the other party about a settlement. Sometimes settlement talks occur informally between attorneys over the telephone or, especially in cases with larger potential damages, settlement talks may include a neutral third party to help the parties come to a resolution during a formal negotiation session.
The decision about whether to settle a personal injury case is, like the underlying injuries, inherently personal and dependent on a number of factors. For example, many settlement contracts require both parties to keep information about the settlement confidential. A plaintiff who seeks to hold a defendant publicly accountable for the injuries he incurred may not wish to settle a personal injury case for this reason. If you have any questions about the pros and cons of settling a personal injury lawsuit then it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.