If you were injured in a preventable accident caused by another party’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Most personal injury claims are resolved before they reach the courtroom because the parties reach a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the terms for ending the dispute. Often that means the parties have agreed upon how much compensation will be exchanged to release one of the parties from further liability.
Legal Requirements for a Settlement Agreement
For a settlement agreement to be valid, there are specific legal requirements the contract must adhere to, such as the following:
- The agreement must be in writing and have a lawful purpose.
- Contains the offer that one of the parties is promising to complete.
- The other party’s acceptance of the terms.
- Proof that each side considered and agreed to the settlement of their own free will, without any coercion.
However, these regulations can vary by state and local municipality. As a result, consulting a personal injury lawyer before signing a settlement agreement is vital to ensure it will be upheld.
What is a Release of Liability?
Once the two parties reach a settlement agreement, the at-fault party, or typically their insurance company, will send a release of liability. This document outlines the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement and releases them from any further liability regarding this particular matter once signed. In other words, once you sign a release of liability form, you cannot change the terms of your agreement or pursue additional compensation. This form must be signed before the at-fault party’s insurer will send a check.
How Does the Settlement Process Work?
Negotiations to settle a personal injury claim typically begin with a demand letter. It is the initial contact a claimant (victim) makes with an alleged at-fault party in an attempt to resolve the case before filing a lawsuit. Once the settlement process is initiated, negotiations between the parties will typically go back and forth until they reach an agreement. There are often several rounds of negotiating before the parties can agree on terms.
What are the Advantages of a Settlement Agreement?
Trial can be a time consuming and expensive process. Settling a case can save you time and money. It is also a guaranteed win and you will often receive money relatively quickly. Additionally, your attorney’s fee may be reduced since you were able to avoid trying your case in court, and settlement agreements are also confidential.
What are the Disadvantages of a Settlement Agreement?
When you sign a settlement agreement, you are essentially giving up your right to a jury trial and possibly a higher award. In some cases, juries are compelled to award more compensation the more severe your injury and losses. However, the outcome is never certain, and there is the possibility of you losing and obtaining no compensation at all.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact LaBovick Law Group. We offer free consultations. Contact us today to speak with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer.