A pretrial settlement is when the parties in a lawsuit meet before trial to figure out payment for losses and injuries. Instead of going through the entire trial process, the parties try to negotiate and resolve payment issues, rather than depending on the judge to determine the damages award. Keep reading for more information about this common dispute resolution approach.
When do pretrial settlements occur?
After receiving notice of the lawsuit, the defendant has the opportunity to work with the claimant/plaintiff outside of court to come to an agreement about liability and how to measure damages.
The settlements can occur in any personal injury arena, but they are very popular in auto accident claims, which can be complicated due to the presence of other parties like insurance companies. Pretrial settlements are also common where business owners are trying to avoid taking time out for court appearances in cases like slip and falls or other claims that occur in business establishments.
After the distribution of the facts of the case, the plaintiff can work with an attorney to draft a formal offer of settlement according to the outlined terms and send it to the defendant for consideration. Alternatively, another option is that both parties can have conversations to negotiate the offer together.
What are the benefits of pretrial settlements?
If you go the settlement route, all parties may be able to save both time and money. Depending on the case, the costs of legal fees, securing and paying expert witnesses, and other costs associated with the lawsuit can really add up, so the settlement can be a way to reduce this.
Additionally, under some circumstances, if a settlement agreement is reached, it may be a more accurate compared to the court’s calculation of compensation for damages.
However, settlement isn’t always a possibility when the parties don’t agree on all of the terms. In such cases, a partial settlement can be reached, and then the disputed terms can be litigated in court.
Helpful hints on negotiation for claimants
There are certain things that claimants should consider when negotiating:
- Envision a settlement range prior to the meeting
- Don’t rush into the first offer. Insurance adjusters tend to start low because they expect that the other party doesn’t realize what their claim is worth
- Get the settlement in writing
How do pretrial settlements payouts work?
Generally, the parties can decide how the settlement payments are paid out. In some cases, a lump sum is paid to the injured party, but the plaintiff may instead choose to receive a structured settlement; many plaintiffs prefer this periodic schedule because they can avoid paying large amounts of taxes on the money that they get.
Contact an Attorney for Pretrial Settlement Help
You might want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you’re considering settlement as an alternative to litigation. Your attorney can assist you in navigating the settlement process from beginning to end. Get in touch with a skilled MOWK Law attorney right away to find out about your options.