Filing and winning a personal injury claim is not as cut and dry as it may seem to onlookers. In almost every situation, there are a lot of steps in between what happens when the claim is filed and the case goes to court, and a settlement offer is usually one of those steps in the process. Here are a few of the most common questions about settlement offers and the answers you need to know.
What does it mean to accept a settlement in a personal injury claim?
If you accept a settlement once you have filed a personal injury claim, it means you will be accepting a lump-sum payment in exchange for dropping the suit. In most cases, a settlement offer will come before the case ever makes it before a judge. Essentially, the defendant offering settlement realizes that you do have enough proof to show they are responsible, so they will oftentimes offer a certain amount of money before the case makes it to court in an effort to not have to pay out as much. You do have the option to turn down a settlement offer if you and your attorney believe it would not be in your best interest.
What happens after you accept a settlement?
Once you accept a settlement from the person you are suing, there will be quite a bit of paperwork to go through with your attorney. Most of the time, when a settlement is offered, it will come with quite a few legal guidelines that will be set in place if you accept what is offered. For example, you may be required to keep the settlement amount quiet from the media or you may be prevented from working with the defendant in the future.
Can you still sue after a settlement?
The pretty reliable rule to follow is once you have accepted a settlement from the person or entity you have sued, you will no longer have the right to pursue the case further for further damages. However, while this is almost always true, there can be special circumstances when a claim associated with the same personal injury can be reopened. For example, if you accepted the settlement under what the law calls "bad faith," or unreasonable circumstances, you could have the right to reopen your claim. Additionally, you may be able to sue for the same injury if there was more than one responsible party. Both of these situations are rare.
For more information, contact a company like The Outlawyer - Abbott Law Firm.