The personal injury settlement process will vary depending on the circumstances. You could be negotiating with an insurance company or an individual, which will change the settlement process. Additionally, you can settle outside of court or through a lawsuit.
We’ll go through each scenario to showcase what you can expect after reaching a settlement.
Personal Injury Settlement Outside of Court With the Insurance Company
The most favorable personal injury case is one where the victim pursues damages against an insurance company. Insurance companies tend to have better resources to negotiate the case and to pay the claim.
If you successfully negotiate a settlement with an insurance company without going to court, the next step will be to sign a release of liability. The insurance company will not release your settlement payment until you sign this document.
Before you sign, be sure that your doctor has cleared you of your medical conditions and that you feel good as new. Once you sign the release with the insurance company, you cannot seek more compensation to cover further injuries or ongoing treatment.
Your attorney will likely encourage you to wait on settlement negotiations until you know your long-term prognosis. That way, you can maximize your compensation to recover financially from the incident.
Individuals who face permanent disabilities should seek larger settlements to cover ongoing treatments when settling a claim.
Once you sign the liability release, the insurance company will write you a check for the agreed-upon settlement amount.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement With an Insurance Company
It’s much more common for settlements with insurance companies to settle out of court. Both parties benefit from reaching a settlement negotiation and wrapping up the case faster than they would have if they had gone to court.
However, sometimes you simply cannot reach an agreement that is fair and helps you recover financially from the incident. In these cases, your attorney will recommend filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.
Sometimes, the presence of the lawsuit is enough to encourage the insurance company to negotiate further. At other times, your case will still go to trial.
If your case goes to trial and the judge orders the insurance company to pay you a settlement, the insurance company must make payment promptly. Failing to do so could mean they pay fines.
However, the insurance company also has some time to file an appeal if they feel the trial was unfair or new evidence comes to light. Delayed payment does not always mean the insurance company is appealing the decision, but it could be a sign.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement With an Individual
Cases in which you sue the individual at fault for your injuries will look a little different because paying out a lump sum is generally not possible for these individuals.
Negotiations will often include a small lump sum if the person has some savings. All settlement payments above that amount will then be completed in the form of wage garnishment over the next several years.
While lump-sum payments are certainly more ideal, you can talk with your doctor or medical professional about setting up payment plans for your care that match your monthly settlement checks to help decrease negative impact to your financial situation.
Reaching a negotiation victory in a personal injury lawsuit is often more favorable than having to take the case to court. Having a skilled attorney who can ensure fair payment will be a huge benefit to you.
Schedule a free consultation with Stewart & Stewart to learn more about our processes and how we negotiate settlements before going to trial.