What Is a Personal Injury Settlement Agreement
Someone who files a personal injury claim does it with one goal in mind – to get compensation. A victim who was injured due to someone else’s negligence will deal with medical costs, loss of wages, emotional distress, property damage, and other things depending on the incident.
Then, the victims hire injury lawyers who advise them, help them collect evidence, and file everything on time. Many personal injury cases reach a settlement agreement, but if you’ve never been involved in something like this before, you may have no idea what a personal injury settlement agreement is.
Understanding settlement agreements will ensure that you know your rights and how much you deserve in compensation, allowing you to fight for the right amount.
Personal Injury Settlement Agreements Explained
In a settlement agreement, both sides in a personal injury case will be able to reach a settlement without going to court. They will decide on an outcome together, then the parties will sign a written copy of the agreement, and the case ends.
So, the victim and the accused will have power over the outcome, which means they will not have to leave matters in the hands of a jury or judge. After the settlement, the parties involved will execute the judgment. Paying the victim is one of the steps.
How Do Settlement Agreement Negotiations Work?
When you want to reach a settlement agreement, you will have to negotiate with the other side about the desired outcome of the case. So, the victim and the accused will meet, joined by their legal teams.
They will discuss factual agreements and options to reach a favorable conclusion for both sides. If you are a victim, then you will have the opportunity to discuss the terms on which you might agree to a settlement agreement.
The accused will be able to offer a certain settlement amount, and you have the right to accept or refuse it. Your attorney will also be able to give you advice in case the compensation amount isn’t high enough, but you’ll be the one making the final decision.
It’s always best to have as much evidence as possible when you make a personal injury claim because this can lead to a better settlement.
Benefits of Settlement Agreements
Many people consider reaching a settlement instead of going to court and this happens for a good reason. Sometimes, settlement agreements bring a lot of benefits that just make things more convenient for the victims.
Some advantages of settlement agreements involve:
- The agreements remain confidential, while court records are public and can be accessed by most people
- Settling a case means that you won and you are getting compensated
- They allow the case to conclude quickly, preventing additional stress for the victims and everyone else involved
- The contingency fee of the attorney may decrease
Downsides of Settlement Agreements
Unfortunately, reaching a settlement agreement is not always the best thing. This also comes with a few disadvantages, such as:
- You may settle for a smaller compensation amount than you deserve
- You will not have the right to pursue further legal action following the settlement
What Should a Settlement Agreement Include?
Your settlement agreement should include all the terms you want to see in the final judgment of the case. For instance, it might mention that one party will give money to the others, say what the payment is for, and what the payment timeline is going to be.
You should bear in mind that after signing a settlement, there is no turning back. The outcome has been decided, and you will probably be unable to reopen the case for a new judgment. This is why you must think very carefully about whether you want to settle or not.
How Long Does It Take to Settle?
It doesn’t take that long to reach a personal injury settlement agreement, especially if you can decide on a proper amount of compensation sooner. Usually, it only takes a few months for a personal injury case to be resolved. Most cases take 3-6 months.
But some aspects, such as whether the insurance company is cooperative and how bad the injuries are, will influence the timeline.
If the case goes to court, though, it will take even longer to settle.
If you want your settlement agreement process to go smoothly, don’t forget to hire a good lawyer from a professional firm such as Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. Top specialists only want to see you succeed, which is why they provide the best legal services you can ask for.
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