In many personal injury cases, a settlement will be the final way a dispute is resolved. At the offices of Paul R. Bennett, you’ll find a personal injury attorney who is experience with settlements – when to pursue one, asking for the right amounts, and walking you through the negotiation process.
It always helps to have more information before you enter a situation like this, so let’s educate you a little. Here are some of the basic steps that go into a settlement for a personal injury or worker’s compensation case.
The first step of the process involves your personal injury lawyer drafting a settlement demand. This will be sent to the insurance company, and will outline all the components of exposure that the insurance company may have to deal with.
These can include, but are not limited to: Future wage losses, job retraining costs, future medical expenses, QRC costs and more. It’s vital to make sure you and your attorney include every possible exposure in this document, to make sure everything is covered.
Once the insurance company receives your settlement demand, they’ll generally make a counter-offer in return to begin the negotiation process. Negotiations may occur during a conference at court, at a mediation with both parties, or sometimes just directly with the insurance company itself.
If no settlement can be reached during these negotiations, you must go to a hearing. This hearing is presided over by a judge, who has the sole power to determine if you get benefits or not. One important note here: While the judge does indeed render a verdict, they cannot award your future benefits in single sum. Rather, they can only determine what you’re owed and order weekly benefits.
Deciding to Settle
The decision to settle is one that will be made based on you and your attorney weighing your options. If you decide that the risk of a hearing, where you could lose and get nothing, is too high, you could settle instead.
For more on settling cases, or to find out about any of our other personal injury services, speak to the experts at the offices of Paul R. Bennett today.