A personal injury lawyer pursues a claim through multiple routes. However, there is a difference between the formal lawsuit settlement and an informal lawsuit settlement.
Whether your accident is a motor vehicle collision, slip, and fall, or a medical malpractice issue, you are the victim. Therefore, you have the right to collect compensation after your accident to ensure your medical costs, lost wages, and your pain and suffering are accounted for.
Settlements come in the form of compensation. This is a monetary amount expertly calculated to compensate you for all damages you suffer. Damages are not just the physical costs like medical bills, medications, and time away from work. These damages also refer to your physical pain, quality of life, and so forth.
It is your right to seek compensation in the form of a personal injury settlement. The settlement, however, may come from a claim filed with the insurer or may result from a personal injury lawsuit.
A formal settlement comes from a formal lawsuit. That means that you have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party or their insurance company to collect compensation. Your attorney must follow the civil lawsuit procedure once the formal suit is placed. This includes determining fault, establishing that fault, and possibly taking your case to trial.
During the formal lawsuit, a judge or jury identifies the cause of the accident, and who is at fault for the accident. Then, your attorney proves the legitimacy of your damages, and the judge and jury decide what amount of damages you deserve based on the quality of evidence presented.
A formal settlement is when the case goes to trial, and the judge or jury determine the compensation. Then, the court requires the defendant to pay compensation to the plaintiff in the form of a formal settlement.
Informal settlements take two forms: a settlement before the lawsuit and a settlement during the lawsuit.
Most personal injury cases never make it to court. Insurance companies know how unpredictable a jury can be; therefore, they prefer to settle before putting a case in the hands of the jury.
The informal settlement of the initial claim and negotiations means that you never file an official lawsuit against the defendant. Instead, your attorney and the insurance claims adjuster can reach an agreeable settlement amount.
Another type of informal settlements comes after the lawsuit is filed, but before you go to court and have an official jury decision. In this case, the insurer realizes you are serious about compensation by filing your lawsuit, and therefore comes up with a settlement amount that is fair and accepted before the trial date.
Either option is best when the compensation amount covers your costs and the value of your case. Only your personal injury attorney can decide how much your case is worth and when a settlement offer meets your demands.
If you were seriously injured, contact an attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP today.