My Love Of The Law

What It Means To Settle Out Of Court

by Alan Medina

Being hurt by a careless driver can be devastating and money won't make the pain go away, but you likely deserve compensation. Money damages can begin to add up and you may need to take legal action to ensure that you are paid enough to cover your various losses. In some cases, you are offered a settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance carrier. Read on to learn more about what is happening, why you are being offered a settlement, and how to handle it.

What Is A Settlement?

Getting paid for your losses can be accomplished in three ways, but the settlement is often the most convenient and fastest way. If the insurance has agreed to pay your bills and you don't understand how much you might be entitled to, you might accept that and move forward with your life. If, however, you realize that you are entitled to more, you might take legal action. Once you speak to a personal injury attorney and find out how much your case is worth, you can try to settle for the desired amount or take the other side to court.

Settlements are preferable over court because they can be accomplished in a week or less and there won't be court costs, inconvenience, and the stress of going to court to deal with. It should be mentioned that there are good reasons for the fact that most personal injury cases do settle out of court.

What Are You Entitled to be Paid?

While every accident case is unique, there are several main factors that can influence the amount you end up being paid. Some of those include:

1. The total dollar amount of your medical expenses. The more your injuries and recovery cost, the more serious the accident. This figure affects your pain and suffering award, in particular.

2. Whether or not your vehicle could be repaired or if it was totaled.

3. How much time you missed from work and your salary.

4. Your age.

5. The evidence is available to show fault and to prove damages (things like photographs, eye-witness testimony, and the police report).

6. The average amount of settlements for similar cases in your area of the state or country.

Settlement Negotiations

Having a personal injury attorney or auto accident lawyer assist you when settlement negotiations begin is vital. This legal professional is experienced in both knowing what to ask for and how to get it. Once both parties come to an agreement about the sum, the case is over. You will sign a release stating that you won't take any further legal action against the other party in the future. Usually, you will receive a check in a matter of days. Speak to a personal injury attorney to find out more about what to expect in terms of your own settlement.