Were you injured due to someone else's negligence, and are now looking to seek compensation? If so, you'll eventually reach a point where you need to negotiate a settlement. Here is what you need to know about settling a personal injury.
Why Not Go To Court?
Many people have the illusion that suing over a personal injury will lead to a trial where a judge or jury will rule in their favor for a big settlement. The truth is that trials can end up costing you more money, which will be taken out of the compensation you may or may not receive. While most injury lawyers will only charge you if they win your case, the longer a case goes on the bigger that bill will be. That makes it detrimental to go to trial instead of settling in mediation.
Settling in mediation also gives you full control over what your compensation is. It is essentially a negotiation where you are allowed to have a back and forth with the other lawyers, until you reach a settlement that you think is fair. While a trial is always an option, both sides know that it will draw out the process and cost everyone more money in the end.
If you go to trial, the judge has the final say on how much compensation you receive. If you do not think it is enough, you cannot request that the judge increases your compensation.
How Are Negotiations Handled?
It is ideal to talk to a lawyer about negotiating a settlement for you soon after the accident. It starts by having your lawyer figure out what will be considered a fair settlement. This includes all of your previous and future medical bills related to your injury, lost wages due to being unable to work, personal property damage caused by the accident, and even pain and suffering. Once a grand total is determined, your lawyer puts in a formal request for a settlement.
The defendant's lawyer can accept the offer and pay a settlement, or decline it and counter with a new total. This process continues until each party is satisfied with the result, or no decision can be reached and it must be taken to court to decide.
It can be difficult to figure out what is fair in a personal injury settlement. Always work with a personal injury attorney to ensure that your best interests are in mind through negotiations.