In most instances, personal injury cases will be settled out of court, meaning they never make it to trial. Handling the case outside of the courtroom and outside the hands of a jury tends to benefit both the defendant and the plaintiff.
Negotiations in Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Once a personal injury claim has been filed, settlement discussions can begin.
This usually only takes place after the defense has had the opportunity to conduct their own investigation. Such an investigation might include getting important information through such means as depositions or interrogations. Insurance companies don’t often become involved in settlement negotiations before they have all the facts, either.
In more complex cases, the average defense attorney usually refuses to begin negotiating a settlement before the prosecution names the witnesses they plan on summoning to testify in court.
The reason for waiting for this information is that it allows the defense to determine whether or not the prosecution has adequately prepared for the trial at hand.
Sometimes, the defense moves to dismiss the case. In these instances, the defendant won’t mention any details regarding the settlement until after the court makes a determination about dismissal. If the court passes the motion for dismissal, the case is over. But if the court denies it, both parties can begin negotiating a settlement.
Of course, all cases are unique, and at times, the defendant’s lawyer may be willing to discuss settlement options while the court is still considering the motion to dismiss the case.
During settlement negotiations, the insurance company and the defense tend to be at an advantage. The settlement will come out of their pockets. In the event they are not willing to sit down and speak seriously about the terms of a settlement, there’s not much the plaintiff and his or her attorney can do to advance the negotiations.
For smaller cases, it’s not uncommon for one lawyer to simply call the other and begin speaking about a settlement. When appropriate, the plaintiff’s lawyer can choose to craft what’s known as a demand letter. The defendant’s lawyer can then respond by crafting a counteroffer of their own. As an alternative, the defense has the option to ignore the demand if it doesn’t please them. When they do decide to make a counteroffer, however, then settlement talks can begin. If both sides cannot come to an agreement, they may choose to go to mediation.
Mediation in Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Mediation is common practice in larger cases. Some courts require that both parties attend mediation and make an effort to settle the case before going to court. Mediation involves a private mediator and perhaps a judge who is not involved with the case in question. The mediator makes an effort to create a mutual agreement between both parties, and this process works out more often than not.
Personal injury Lawyers
At JD Haas and Associates, we will make every effort to settle your case in a way that benefits you. We will also not hesitate to go to court and fight aggressively for you. Contact us today.