A personal injury claim can be settled without ever setting foot into a courtroom. In many cases, this is the preferred method of handling these types of claims. It is important to note that “going to trial” is different than taking the claim “to court.” A trial is taken before a judge and jury, whereas going to court simply means that this case is legally filed and served to the defendant.
If it is preferable for both the plaintiff and the defendant, it is possible for a personal injury claim to be concluded with a settlement. In order for these negotiations to go well for the plaintiff, the lawyer must be fully prepared and have the case scheduled and ready to be tried before a judge – that way, the defendant knows that this is a serious matter and that there is an end date for negotiations.
Before Negotiations Begin
Usually, the defense attorney will want to gather all of the facts and information before any negotiations can take place. This may include statements and depositions from those involved. From there, the attorney will often file for a motion for the case to be dismissed. If the case is dismissed, the negotiation process is over. If the motion is denied, then negotiations can begin.
What Happens During Negotiations?
At first, the lawyers may contact each other via phone and discuss the details. In some cases, a demand letter may be drafted. The demand letter outlines the injury, why the defendant is responsible, the medical costs involved and other damages suffered. If the plaintiff’s lawyer and the defense lawyer can’t come to an agreement, then mediation is necessary.
The mediator is going to be a private professional or judge who has not been assigned to the scheduled trial. All involved parties and their legal counsel will be present during the proceedings. There will be a session where everyone meets together and a session where each side meets with the mediator separately.
If a settlement is reached, the injured party must agree to it and inform their lawyer of the decision. The lawyer will draw up the necessary paperwork and inform the other side of the decision. It is important for the injured person to understand that once the settlement is reached, there is no going back. The terms of the agreement cannot be changed from this point on, so the plaintiff should understand all of the details involved in the settlement before accepting the terms.
If no settlement is reached, the case will go to trial.
Trust Your Personal Injury Claim to Thomas D. Bumgardner
Thomas D. Bumgardner has years of experience filing, negotiating and winning personal injury claims all across North Carolina. He will fight to help you win the fair compensation that you deserve. We would love to hear about your case. To schedule your free personal injury consultation, please call us at (704) 870-4779.