The atmosphere surrounding personal injuries can seem very mystifying to someone who is unfamiliar with the legal world. You’ll hear long words and complicated jargon, and you’ll only understand what legalese your lawyer translates back into common English. If you want to avoid the courtroom, read on to learn when you should ask for a settlement agreement.
The term “settlement” comes with some negative connotations. In life, we’re told never to settle, but the rules aren’t the same in a legal battle. Even if you feel that you have an ironclad case against the defendant, a great defense attorney can make your argument look weak. Suddenly, you’re looking at a judge ordering a significantly smaller payout than you pictured.
A settlement avoids the courtroom altogether, meaning that you can spend less time hearing complicated legalese and more time getting healthy after your injury. Settlements offer greater security than a court case, which is often worth the potential of slightly less compensation.
Starting Settlement Negotiations
The typical starting place for negotiations comes before the court rears its ugly head. Most of the time, negotiations begin with a demand letter sent to the defendant’s legal counsel, the defendant themselves, or to an insurance company.
In this demand letter, you and your attorney should present a figure that you feel fairly accounts for all the suffering you have experienced, are experiencing, and will experience. This can include everything from medical bills to lost wages to emotional distress.
How Long Do Negotiations Take?
Negotiations don’t have a set timeframe. When the other party receives your letter, they may accept the settlement, or they could counter. Realistically, negotiations can end in as little as a few weeks, but negotiations for larger cases can last several months. While you’re waiting for settlement money, consider obtaining plaintiff attorney funding to pay for your legal fees.
Now that you know when you should ask for a settlement agreement, speak with your attorney about starting negotiations.