In a legal case, a settlement happens when the parties in a claim or lawsuit resolve their differences by reaching an agreement. At the time of the settlement, the parties dismiss their claims or lawsuits and release the other parties from liability. In personal injury law, a settlement usually involves an offer to pay the plaintiff money. If the plaintiff accepts the amount of money offered, they are releasing the defendant (and their insurance company) from any further liability.
The parties involved in a claim or lawsuit can settle at any time during the life cycle of their case. In personal injury law, the vast majority of claims will settle before a lawsuit is ever filed. In some cases, a personal injury attorney might file a lawsuit in order to show a recalcitrant insurance company that they’re serious about taking a case to court. The insurance company might offer a more generous settlement amount to avoid the hassle and risk of taking a case to trial. It’s even possible to settle a case during or after a trial.
Do you need an attorney to settle your case?
In cases involving minor injuries or property damage only, plaintiffs are likely to settle without hiring an attorney to help them with their cases. However, in larger cases involving expensive medical bills, significant loss of income or future earnings, permanent disability, or death, a plaintiff will usually have a personal injury attorney helping them with the legal process.
Insurance law is a complicated field that varies from state to state. Most people aren’t aware of all the complexities of the law; in fact, very few have even read all of the documents they’ve been given by their own insurance companies. That means that many people don’t know all of their legal rights after an accident. They don’t have the experience to understand what they can claim in damages; they also may not recognize when an insurance company is offering them far less than what their cases is really worth.
You aren’t required to consult with a lawyer before settling your case. However, if you believe that your case is worth a substantial amount of money, it’s a wise idea to consult with a personal injury attorney before signing a settlement offer. Ethical personal injury attorneys should be willing to consult with you for free.
How much does an initial consultation cost?
Many people are under the mistaken impression that personal injury lawyers charge fees upfront. At Davis Law Group, we often have people calling us worrying that they can’t afford an attorney or asking if we will take their case “pro bono.”
The truth is that ethical personal injury lawyers will not charge their clients a fee up front. There’s no retainer fee or charge to pay before you can use a personal injury lawyer’s services. They are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that they agree to receive a percentage of any money they win on your behalf in a settlement or a trial verdict.
In addition to this, before you agree to become an attorney’s client, you’re also welcome to take advantage of a free consultation. During this consultation, the personal injury attorney’s legal team will investigate your case. You shouldn’t be charged a fee for this investigation. If the attorney’s investigators decide that you would be better off handling your case on your own, they should send you a list of appropriate resources; if they think that their firm is the best fit for your needs, they will contact you about the next steps.