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Determining Settlement or Trial in Houma Car Accident Cases

When determining whether or not to accept a settlement or go to trial in car accident cases in Houma, the decision is entirely dependent on the potential client. There are many reasons to settle, in some instances, the settlement offer satisfies the potential client enough to deem the trial process unnecessary. The individual may decide that the likelihood of being able to collect damages greater than the insurance policy limits are such that they may not want to go to trial. The job of an experienced attorney, in this aspect of the legal proceedings, is to prosecute the case and give advice and recommendations to the potential client.

Understanding What Settlements Are

A settlement is an agreement where the people at fault are willing to pay the sum that the individual is willing to accept, or the insurance company is willing to pay what the person wants. It is an agreement and, in Louisiana, once parties come to a written agreement to settle, that case will be paid generally within 30 days. If a party goes to trial, they may win and get a large jury verdict but the party at fault may decide they want to appeal the result. There may be a delay in going to trial. More often than not cases are resolved after the trial, but if the other side wants to appeal, that can delay the recovery of funds for the person who is injured.

What Are the Application Requirements?

For any settlement, there must be one side who was injured wants a certain amount of damages. This is typically done with a settlement offer which is made to the people at fault or the insurance company to evaluate. They may make a determination that is a totally reasonable settlement offer and pay the money, or they may make a counter-offer.

Once the parties come to a written agreement, the funds are processed usually within 30 days. The person receiving the settlement will receive and sign a document releasing the parties who were paying the money, and their case will conclude.

Reasons Why Someone May Want to Settle Rather than Go to Trial

Some individuals are satisfied with the settlement offer and they may have a fear of going to trial. The juries are not privy to the settlement negotiations, so there may always be a chance that the jury might award less than what has been offered. In those situations, the people who want to settle are satisfied with the settlement offer. Usually, right before trial is when the settlement offer is the highest. The vast majority of civil injury cases do settle in Houma, in Louisiana, and in the United States.

Who Determines the Settlement Amount?

A settlement is an agreement between the parties that can include the insurance companies, the corporate defendant, the individual seeking recovery and their attorney. This agreement is typically considered a mutual agreement where one party is willing to pay what the other one wants. The amount of settlement is dependent on who is liable for the injury claim.

Someone who sprained their finger is not going to receive in a settlement the same amount of money as someone who gets their leg amputated. Therefore, the severity of the injury, the duration of the injury, the permanency of the injury, the special items of damages, past medical expenses, and future medical expenses are all items that one looks at in determining an amount of settlement.

Role of Attorneys on Either Side of the Settlement

A defendant’s attorney could try to objectively evaluate the damages and the liability in any case and, on those cases of liability, will look at the damages and evaluate them, but that’s just one side of the coin. In litigation, the settlement is going to occur between the evaluation of the defense attorney, insurance company, plaintiff’s attorney, and the plaintiff themselves. The defense attorney does not come up with the settlement amount because it is a negotiated sum of money after a fair exchange of all the facts concerning liability and damages to the person who is injured.

Reasons Why Someone May Refuse to Take a Settlement Offer and Instead Go to Trial

Usually, trials result when somebody is not analyzing the facts and evidence correctly. It could also be that insurance companies or defendants, truly at fault, for whatever reason, do not believe they really are at fault. That is going to affect their settlement offer. So, when you have a low settlement offer on a case of obvious liability and big damages, that is a good reason to go to trial.

Sometimes cases involve aggravated liability facts, such as a situation in which the type of car crash that occurred may likely occur again, like a claim against a trucking company that has a pattern of hiring inexperienced drivers or a pattern of not properly training drivers.

In that situation, the person injured may refuse to take a settlement offer, particularly one that is low, because they believe that if they go to court, the jury will recognize that a message may be sent to that company by the amount of the award to consequently change their behavior. When you have people who are persistently violating safety rules that will put others at risk, then that is a good case to refuse a settlement offer, go to court, and let the jury review the facts and the evidence.