You may never have to go to court to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement in a personal injury case, but you’ll certainly be in need of quality representation from an experienced and respected Tampa car accident lawyer to get one. You can try to handle it on your own, but it’s highly likely that you’ll make mistakes along the way. Those mistakes can significantly devalue your case, and they can stay with you throughout the pendency of your claim or lawsuit. A seasoned injury lawyer isn’t going to make those mistakes, and he or she knows how to put the evidence regarding liability and damages in front of a judge and 12 people on a jury. An attorney could help you weigh the benefits of negotiating a settlement vs. going to court in Tampa car accident cases.
What is a Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury settlements are negotiated just about every day in Hillsborough County. They can be lump-sum settlements whereupon a specific sum is of money is paid at one time, or they can be structured settlements when a sum of money is paid over a period of years. More than 99% of all personal injury settlements involve lump-sum payments.
How is a Settlement Entered Into?
When the parties have reached a compromise and settlement, a release of claims is forwarded to the claimant’s attorney for signature by the claimant. When the claimant signs off on that release, and the attorney delivers it, those acts operate to hold the defendant and his or her insurance company harmless for any claims, lawsuits or demands in connection with that specific accident that occurred on a specific date and location. No admission of liability will be made, but all past, present and future claims in connection with the occurrence will be forever barred and terminated.
When the insurer of the person who caused the accident receives the executed release, it will forward the claimant’s attorney a check in the appropriate amount. It’s highly unlikely that a claimant might settle a personal injury claim through an insurance company without executing and delivering a release, even if the claim has been placed in suit. Courts favor settlements, releases and dismissal orders, so it’s also highly unlikely that a claimant might be able to void a release sometime in the future.
The Risks of Litigation
Even if a personal injury claim has been placed in suit and is in the court system, about 95% of all such cases settle rather than go to trial. Taking a personal injury case to trial can be risky for a claimant. A jury must be convinced of the issues of both liability and damages. Witnesses are often nervous, and they get flip-flopped by skilled insurance defense attorneys during cross-examination. Experienced attorneys on both sides of a case are going to weigh risk, reward, the likelihood of a verdict and its monetary range.
Trials Mean Additional Costs
When there is money on the table that is within the range of a favorable jury award, objectivity and reasonableness should prevail. Our goal is to obtain the maximum settlement or verdict that our clients deserve. When we’re within range of that number, the costs of litigation might reduce it. A verdict might also be rendered that is substantially below the value of a case.
Always remember that a good settlement is far better than a bad verdict. You can contact our offices to arrange for a free confidential consultation and case review. You’ll be able to speak with an experienced, dedicated and successful Tampa personal injury lawyer about your accident and injuries. We’re going to listen to you closely, and we’re also going to answer your questions truthfully. After that, we’ll advise you on what services we can offer.