Your lawyer can take both formal and informal measures to settle your personal injury case. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.
The majority of personal injury cases often reach a settlement before trial due to several advantages for both parties. Whether you are the injured person (also known as the plaintiff) or the at-fault party (the defendant), settlement can reap some benefits. This article will address when and how a lawyer will likely negotiate a settlement on behalf of a client.
When Do Personal Injury Settlement Talks Start?
Settlement talks mostly begin before your lawsuit process even starts. But a client and their lawyer may feel like they’ve got no choice but to take legal action when pre-litigation settlement breakdown.
Both the parties will seriously engage in settlement talks only if each side of the case feels comfortable with the evidence and the facts. This discussion on resolving the matter out of court will continue as your lawsuit proceeds. Remember, settlement talks can also intensify right before trial. But in most cases, serious settlement talks begin after each side completes its “discovery.”
Who Negotiates a Settlement?
Each party’s lawyers typically lead settlement talks. But since an insurance provider is often the entity to write a check if the case settles or the plaintiff wins, the defendant’s insurance provider often gets involved in settlement talks.
No matter who engages in negotiations, the final say to accept or decline a settlement resides in the clients’ hands (defendant and plaintiff).
Note: It’s an ethical obligation of lawyers to present any settlement offer made by the defendant in front of their client.
Lawsuit Settlement Strategies
One of the key factors in a settlement is timing. There are many moments during a lawsuit where settlements become common.
First, the moment where settlement becomes common is the completion of discovery. Discovery is the litigation stage where both the parties have the opportunity to get crucial information from each other. In this phase, they also obtain potential evidence to prepare for their trial. They can extract information in the form of depositions and interrogations.
Second, settlements become common when the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The defendant wins, and the case is over when the court grants the entire motion. However, the plaintiff can still file an appeal. On the other hand, if the court denies the entire motion, the trial goes in the civil suit. In other words, a motion for summary judgment is often the defendant’s last chance to avoid a trial. This is the time when the defendant can become most eager to settle the case.
Third, the case settles following the court rules on “motion in limine,” where the judge decides whether to include or exclude particular evidence at trial. An entire case might depend on this specific piece of evidence. The defendant becomes much more willing to settle if the judge allows the plaintiff to use the evidence.
Lastly, in some cases, you can also reach a settlement right after the trial verdict. This is because regardless of who wins, the losing side can always appeal. This would drain additional time and expense from the winning side. For example, if the plaintiff won, a defendant can appeal, thus extending the time it takes to receive money.
For more information, feel free to contact your consumer banking lawyer at Oracle Legal Group.