One a lawyer is a part of your problem, he or she will make the best use of a number of legal tools along with his or her experience to negotiate and grab the best deal possible.
Majority of the cases related to personal injury are either settled out of court or while the trial is going on. Very few percentage of these type of cases experience the verdict of the jury as there are numerous benefits for both the parties to keep the case out of the courtroom. A few major questions that arise are answered here:
When we will Start with the Settlement Discussions?
Once the case has been filed in the civil court and defense attorney is done with all the pretrial investigations or in other words ‘discovery’; they might consider using different discovery tools like interrogatories and depositions. Very rarely insurance companies include themselves in serious negotiations until a crystal clear picture is portrayed for them to declare the decision.
When it comes to complex cases, defense lawyers hardly want to opt for out of court settlement until after the plaintiff’s lawyer has identified the plaintiff’s expert witnesses. It happens mainly because they would like to wait and check if the plaintiff’s lawyer has actually done the work that is required to make the case ready for trial.
In many situations, the defense lawyer will file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In these type of cases, the defendant may not be willing to discuss settlement until after the court rules on the motion. If the court grants the motion, then the case is over; it has been dismissed. But if the court denies the motion, then it’s time to talk. Other times, the defense attorney will be willing to discuss settlement while the court is considering the motion. In settlement negotiations, and it differs from case to case.
While the settlement discussions are going on, the ball is in the insurance company’s and the defense attorney’s court. If they are not willing to proceed with the serious talks about settlement, the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney will just not get ready to even think about the discussing about settlement.
An intelligent plaintiff’s lawyer would tell his/her client to not engage in the settlement talks as there are chances that the defense attorney might interpret that as being irrecoverable situation. f the defense attorney thinks that the plaintiff is desperate to settle, the defense attorney will usually make lowball offers and try to get the plaintiff to settle for far less than the case is worth. Hence, sensible plaintiff’s lawyers usually wait until the defense attorney asks them to initiate the settlement talks.
How Are Settlement Discussions Conducted?
In smaller injury cases, especially when the lawyers are well aware of each other, one attorney will just dial another one’s number on phone and will start the conversation about settlements. The plaintiff’s lawyer may or may not write an actual demand letter. Then, the defense attorney may or may not respond with a counteroffer. If the defense thinks that the demand was too high, he/she may simply ignore the demand or may say that the demand is too high and that the insurer will not make a counteroffer. If the defense does make a counteroffer, then the bargaining begins. Sometimes the lawyers can settle it, sometimes not. If they can’t settle, they will likely go to mediation.
In serious personal injury cases, the lawyers and their clients will most of the times are willing to attend mediation.These days courts need the parties to attend mediation to try to get the case settled. Mediation can be done with either a private mediator or a judge who is not assigned to that particular case. The mediator meets with all sides in the beginning, and then conducts the meeting one on one with the plaintiff and the defendant to see if he or she can convince the parties. Mediation can extend for a few hours and even days. Mediation does not always is successful, but as per track records, the statistics are in favour of this method.
How Long Can Settlement Negotiations Last?
Case negotiations can go on for a long time. Do not be discouraged by the fact that negotiations are taking so long, there are many reasons for it. As long as the two lawyers are willing to talk about it, these negotiations can continue.
Settling the Case
If the injured person accepts the defense attorney’s settlement offer once his or her client has agreed for the same, then the case is settled. All the attorney needs to do to let the defense lawyer know that the offer has been accepted is to tell him or her, formally.
The Experienced Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Lawyer – Jaime Surez