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.
Recently, a district court in Florida issued an opinion addressing whether a car accident settlement agreement was enforceable. The validity of the settlement agreement turned on complex contract law issues. The appeal arose after a car accident victim filed a lawsuit for her injuries against the at-fault driver and owner of the car. The defendants presented an offer to settle all of the claims on the same day the victim served each defendant with an offer. The defendants accepted the victim’s offer, and the next day the victim accepted the defendant’s offer. The defendant’s offer was more beneficial to the victim, and as such, she argued that it remained available because they did not withdraw their offer. However, the court reasoned that the defendant’s offer could not have remained open because of the specific terms of the victim’s offer. Therefore, the court affirmed the settlement agreement.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Car Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries in an accident, contact the West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at Frankl Kominsky. Our attorneys have a strong reputation for providing Florida injury victims with exceptional advocacy and representation throughout all stages of their claims. We handle Florida accident cases stemming from car, truck, motorcycle crashes, defective products, premises liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. We have helped our clients recover significant amounts of damages for their losses. Contact our office at 561-609-1948.