On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Construction Accidents on Friday, April 3, 2015.
Americans seem to be fascinated by certain aspects of the law. Movies, books and television all regularly depict heated courtroom battles aimed at ensuring that justice is fully served. It would likely surprise many Americans to learn that most legal disputes are not finalized by a jury verdict. The majority of legal cases which are filed are ultimately settled out of court.
An out of court settlement is generally negotiated by the attorneys for all parties involved in a suit. There are instances in which an insurance company or other interested party will approach an accident victim and offer an out of court settlement before that victim has had a chance to speak with an attorney. In these cases, it is generally beneficial for that victim to speak with an attorney before accepting a settlement, as hiring legal counsel tends to better ensure that victims are not taken advantage of.
If a victim’s attorney either negotiates a settlement or relays the terms of a non-negotiated settlement, it is ultimately up to the victim to accept the settlement or not. An attorney is not generally empowered to make that decision for his or her client. A client can tell his or her attorney to accept the offer, to counter the offer or to reject the offer and proceed with either negotiations or litigation.
If you are debating whether or not to accept the terms of a settlement that your attorney believes are favorable, consider your options carefully. Accepting a settlement does not necessarily mean that you have been offered less than you deserve. Then again, only you can determine whether you should proceed with litigation or accept an offer you may or may not believe is fair.
Source: Findlaw Injured, “After an Accident: Should I Accept an Out of Court Settlement?” Christopher Coble, April 2, 2015
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