When a spinal cord injury occurs and you are not at fault, there are several avenues you can take. Many people file a lawsuit after their spinal cord injury to receive financial compensation. This is because spinal cord injuries can cause many people to go bankrupt, as ongoing medical expenses can be enormous. Interestingly, many spinal cord injury lawsuits do not go to trial. Instead, they are settled, which means that both parties agree on a set amount of money, and then part ways.
Settling a lawsuit, in many ways, can be the better option. First, settling can be a faster way to get your funds, which is very important if you want to receive the best rehabilitation possible after your injury. You also get to bypass aspects of trial like jury selection, where one juror could not like you and the whole case could be ruined. Additionally, even if you do win your case through a trial, the other side could appeal, meaning you may not get your money in the long-run
Because of the possibility of a trial taking years to complete, many people are interested in settling their spinal cord injury lawsuit. However, if you are considering settlement, it is paramount that you have an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer so you can ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. When settling your case, there are a few important things to know about the settlement process. Read to discover these things below.
When Could a Case go to Settlement?
One of the best aspects about settling a spinal cord injury case is that you do not have to wait for the long period of time that a trial usually takes. Many people want to know when a case could settle. The answer is that it could settle at any time. Here are some of the most common times a settlement will occur:
– When you hire a lawyer. If your case is a slam dunk win with solid evidence, an early settlement could easily occur, meaning you can avoid costly legal fees.
– After filing your lawsuit. If the case is obviously in your favor, the chances of the other side wanting to settle right away is likely.
– When new evidence related to the case is brought forward to both parties and it is obviously in your favor, the other side could settle. This type of evidence could include documents, admissions, and depositions. A case is always stronger with solid evidence, which can force the other side to settle.
– There are several motions—which are court filings about your case—that could rule in your favor. When this occurs, the other side may want to settle.
How a Settlement Occurs
When a settlement occurs, it can be a formal or informal settlement. With an informal settlement, the case is obviously in your favor. First, your lawyer will request a settlement offer from the other side. Sometimes, the other side may agree to the amount. Otherwise, a formal settlement occurs through mediation. Mediation is when both sides come together to present their case.
If the other side apologizes at the mediation, this might cause you to want to accept a lower settlement, and then you can be done with the case altogether. Whenever a settlement is reached in mediation, there are several formalities that need to occur to make it all official, including actions such as signing a nondisclosure agreement.
What Could Cause a Case to Settle?
There is no guarantee your case will settle. However, there are many factors that could help a settlement happen. Keep in mind that you should never go into your case with your expectations too high; every case is different. Here are some factors that could help your case settle so you do not have to go to trial:
– If your case clearly shows that the person or entity you are filing a lawsuit against is guilty, or that they somehow caused your injury, this can easily help your case reach settlement. Having your case clearly explain how the injury occurred, and how the other party was at fault, is critical.
– If your injury occurred where the local rules or court precedents may rule in your favor, your case might be settled.
– If it looks like the case may be drawn out for months and possibly years, the other side may settle to reduce their legal expenses.
– If the case would give the other side bad press, they may settle. This is more likely to happen with businesses rather than an individual, but if the individual is a doctor and they caused your injury, they might be apt to settle—especially if a trial against the doctor would give their hospital bad press.
– If your case is truly heinous, compelling, or if you are a likable person, your case may be settled and you may receive a higher amount than expected..
How a Settlement Ends
When both parties have finally agreed on a settlement amount, the next thing that must happen is for both sides to sign a contract that outlines the terms of the settlement. Settlements can have many different terms and conditions; for example, you may be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement before you receive your money. This is typically standard practice. All necessary paperwork is signed, with everything finalized, usually within 30 days of the settlement agreement.
After the case is finalized, you can expect your first payment 30 days after signing the agreement. However, different settlements will have different timelines for payments, so pay close attention to the terms of your settlement to ensure you know when you will receive your compensation. One of the greatest aspects of settlements is that you will get your money—even if the other side declares bankruptcy or appeals, you will still receive your payments.
Final Thoughts: Settlement Reversals, etc.
A settlement can be a great way to walk away from a stressful situation. Through a settlement, you will get paid, and even if the other party tries to reverse the decision in court, the likelihood of the court accepting the appeal is minimal. Settlements are voluntary, which means courts do not want to get involved. Remember, if you decide to settle, you will not be able to refile your case if you discover new evidence.