Settlement Agreements – An Explanation
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Sep 28, 2020 in Personal Injury
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another party, you could be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court through settlement agreements with other parties and/or insurance companies.
Below, learn more about personal injury settlements and the process involved. If you have questions about settlements and other aspects of the personal injury claim process, Phillips Law Group is here to help. Our experienced Phoenix personal injury attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for personal injury victims throughout Arizona, many of these situations were resolved through settlements.
We offer free initial consultations and there is no requirement to hire us. We only bill you if we win compensation on your behalf.
Personal Injury Settlement Agreements Defined
A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between you and another party that you filed your claim against or have a dispute with. In cases involving personal injury, this may be referred to as a mutual or general release, which is usually an agreement for a certain amount of financial compensation to be paid to the injured party for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property losses and other damages.
If you were injured in a car crash that was caused by another driver’s negligence, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to negotiate a settlement to pay for your damages. However, far too often insurance companies try to save themselves money but not offering the full amount of compensation victims may be eligible for, which means you or your attorney will need to continue negotiating and make a counteroffer.
If you and your lawyer feel you are not getting the offer you deserve, you may need to file a lawsuit and let a judge and jury decide the outcome in a trial. However, insurance adjusters are more likely to meet your demands once they learn that you and your lawyer are serious about going to court. They would rather not spend the extra time and money for a trial and would rather settle. For example, they may agree to settle at mediation, which usually happens before the trial.
What is a Release?
Most settlement agreements will include a release of liability, which prohibits you from bringing additional claims for medical expenses or automobile coverage for the same accident. The release document commonly includes the settlement amount, the parties being released and the claims that are being released (for example, personal injury claims or property damage claims).
This release document is prepared by the defense lawyer and he or she will then send it to your lawyer for approval. Although these documents are usually straightforward, there may be certain stipulations and wording that may be disputed. Disagreements about the language in the release document can go back and forth between the lawyers until a mutual agreement is reached. If an agreement cannot be reached, a judge may need to step in and resolve the issue.
Once the terms in the release are completed, your lawyer will give it to you for your review and signature. Be sure to read the entire agreement and discuss questions with your lawyer before you sign. Once you sign the agreement, the claims process is over.
What Happens After the Settlement?
After the settlement agreement is finalized and you have signed the release documents, a check will be issued and deposited into your lawyer’s trust account. Once the check clears, your attorney will pay off any outstanding legal fees and any other debts you may have related to your injuries.
It is critical to have an experienced lawyer on your side to review your settlement agreement and make sure the settlement agreement provides you the maximum compensation available for your damages.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney Before You Settle
Before agreeing to a settlement with the insurance company, it is important to talk to an attorney about your case. An experienced lawyer can help determine if a settlement offer provides the compensation you need and help negotiate another offer if necessary.
If you need legal help, contact a licensed lawyer at Phillips Law Group today. Our firm has secured over $750 million in compensation. Give us a call today to set up your no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation.
Phillips Law Group. No Fees Unless You Collect. Ph: 1-800-706-3000