After a Florida car accident, injury victims often incur significant damages, including expenses related to their medical bills, lost wages and benefits, and pain and suffering. Depending on the accident’s circumstances, victims who wish to recoup these damages have several options, including filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Despite a popular misconception, an overwhelming number of personal injury lawsuits do not make it to trial. In some cases, the court will dismiss a plaintiff’s case because of a substantive or procedural issue. In other situations, the parties will reach a settlement agreement that negates the need for a lengthy trial.
A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract that the parties reach voluntarily. The plaintiff and defendant or insurance company negotiate the terms of the contract. In return, the plaintiff agrees to cease any further legal action related to the incident. These agreements usually do not require the defendant to admit guilt; instead, it lays out that the defendant is resolving the issue for an agreed-upon amount. In some cases, the payment occurs in one lump sum, and in other cases, the parties may agree to stagger the payments. These agreements can occur at any time during the proceedings; however, they must occur before the jury reaches a verdict.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to signing a settlement agreement; however, an attorney is one of the most indispensable resources during this process. When accident victims attempt to negotiate the terms of a settlement without an experienced attorney, they may find themselves in a detrimental situation. For instance, injury victims may settle for an inadequate amount, the terms may not be beneficial, or the settlement may not be legally binding.