When someone makes a mistake out of carelessness, recklessness, or negligence and they injure another person, the injured party (plaintiff) can file a personal injury lawsuit against the wrongdoer and seek monetary damages for their losses. Even though the plaintiff is technically filing a lawsuit, very few personal injury cases go to trial. Over 90 percent of personal injury claims are settled out of court.
But what does it mean to “settle” a case? Does that mean the plaintiff and defendant simply agree on a dollar figure, shake hands, and that’s the end of it? Not quite. To settle a case is to agree to accept a certain amount of money in return for dropping the action against the at-fault party who caused your injuries.
Releasing the Defendant from Liability
When you reach a settlement with the defendant, you actually sign a release that relieves the defendant from any further liability. However, you don’t necessarily want to accept the first offer that comes your way. Insurance companies are for-profit companies and they are in the practice of offering low-ball settlements to plaintiffs. If a plaintiff is unrepresented (does not have an attorney), they can unwittingly accept an offer that is far below what their case is worth.
“How do I know whether I should accept the insurance company’s offer?” The best way to help you be sure you’re accepting a good offer is to hire an attorney. It’s your lawyer’s job to examine the insurance company’s offer and let you know if it’s a good offer or not.
We’ll tell you one thing: An insurance company will be motivated to provide a realistic offer when you have a lawyer on board vs. representing yourself. It’s not so easy to fool an experienced injury attorney into believing a low-ball offer is “all they can do.”
A settlement can occur at any time once the plaintiff has filed a lawsuit. It can happen before a trial, or even while a trial is proceeding but before the jury reaches a verdict. The decision however, to accept a settlement offer is the plaintiff’s, not the lawyer’s.
To file a personal injury claim, contact Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today.