After filing a lawsuit, the other side may offer a settlement to avoid going to court. If all parties agree on the offer, the suit’s over. If the parties do not agree on the presented settlement, the parties can continue to exchange new offers, even after a trial starts.
At times, your St. Louis personal injury lawyer will work to represent you outside your physical presence. The other side may offer a settlement in a meeting you did not attend or send it to your lawyer’s office unexpectedly.
If you are not with your attorney when they receive a settlement, can your lawyer accept it without you?
The simple answer is no, they cannot. A lawyer cannot settle without their client’s consent. An attorney’s client must learn of any offers to settle and decide for themselves if they want to accept the settlement. The American Bar Association’s ethical standards for practicing lawyers state that a lawyer must present to their client any settlement agreements that the other side offers.
Not only is it an ethical violation for a lawyer to accept an offer without their client’s permission, but it violates the law in many states. Therefore, your attorney will not accept an offer without your consent. Instead, your attorney will explain the offer’s details to you and give their professional opinion on if it is an offer they recommend accepting.
Your attorney may also suggest countering the offer with something you should agree to. In some cases you may not want to settle, and so your attorney will let the other side know you will go to trial instead.
Why do some people accept settlements?
Sometimes, going to trial can involve a long and daunting process. While some courts can get cases before a judge quickly, others have a line of court cases filling their calendar. This can cause some victims of accidents to have to wait far too long before receiving their compensation.
After your injury, you want the payments you deserve as soon as you can get them. Typically, the expenses you now must pay because of what happened have due dates you cannot ignore.
In many cases, the victim is missing work due to injuries, making it hard to keep up with the bills. When victims have a mountain of expenses that the other side owes them payment for, they need to get paid as soon as possible to get on with their lives.
Any victim should not have to wait for fair compensation for their expenses. In some cases, it requires a court case to ensure you get the money you deserve. Other times, all parties will agree on a settlement offer without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom. Many people accept a settlement because it typically means they can receive their money immediately after agreeing to the settlement.
A settlement often moves much quicker than a trial, making it less stressful and time-consuming for everyone. It means less time to go to negotiations or appear in court. It usually results in less legal fees, and, most importantly, it means a victim gets their money in their bank account fast.
In cases involving insurance companies, such as a car accident, the insurance company may issue an offer to prevent the company from having to go to court. Insurance companies do not want to pay their lawyers to try a case. They do not want to increase paperwork or pay for the person-hours needed to handle your case against them. The bottom line is they want to move quickly to save as much money as possible.
Once you agree to a settlement, the legal dispute resolves. For the insurance company, this means they can save money. For you, this means getting the compensation you deserve without waiting for a trial date.
How will I know if a settlement is fair?
An experienced attorney can help you feel confident that you will recover fair compensation for your circumstances. Since the other side just wants to save as much money as they can, they may extend a low offer that will not cover your pain, suffering, and expenses.
Although a low settlement offer might seem like a good idea at first, the other side is counting on you not knowing that they should pay you significantly more. They hope you will give up the fight for fair compensation and accept the first thing they offer you.
An attorney can help you understand how much you should recover for a settlement and how much more you should ask for through a counteroffer.
Your attorney is there to fight for you. They can stand up to the insurance company and help ensure you get the best offer you can, one that will pay a fair amount of money for your injuries, time, and distress. If you never receive a fair settlement offer, you and your attorney can decide together to move forward with a court case.
Fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
As mentioned before, insurance companies do not care about you, your injuries, lost wages, or pain and suffering. They only care about saving money. Typically, they will make settlement offers that do not acknowledge the actual value of your claim against them. Your attorney will stand up to the big insurance companies to ensure they don’t manipulate or intimidate you into taking a low settlement offer. If the offer is too low, your attorney can write a counteroffer to let the insurance company know what settlement terms you will agree to.
Sometimes, settlements will involve false claims about why you should take less money than you deserve. Your attorney will refute any inaccuracies in the statements made by the other side to demonstrate why you deserve more and make it clear that you know what you deserve. The other side may agree to the new terms, or negotiations may continue. Typically, insurance companies want to avoid courtrooms, so an attorney who knows how to handle the insurance companies’ predatory tactics can ensure you get the highest compensation they can offer you.
What if I don’t want to take a settlement?
It is entirely up to you if you want to take a settlement offer or not. Your attorney will guide you through the details and advise you on what decision they recommend, but the final decision is always up to you. Remember, your attorney is on your side. Your attorney will only agree to a settlement if you want it.
Each case is unique, and your attorney can guide you through the ins and outs of moving forward with taking your case to trial, if that is what you want to do. Hire an attorney who can advise you if they think going forward with a trial is a good decision or if it puts you at risk of getting inadequate compensation.
If you decide that you do not want a settlement, you may continue to receive settlement offers until the trial begins. Your lawyer will still review each offer with you to ensure you consent to each step of the legal process.
What can I do with my settlement?
Your settlement should cover the cost of legal expenses, the time you took off work due to their ordeal, medical costs, bill payments, and unexpected expenditures to get your life back on track after an accident. Perhaps you needed to use credit cards while you waited for your settlement. The money can pay those cards off or to pay off any other loan you needed to get through such a difficult time.
Some individuals will need the money for future expenses that arise from the situation. Perhaps they lost their jobs and need to get by until they can work again. Those who suffer injuries might need to cover the cost of future medical appointments, medications, physical therapy, or medical equipment.
The money can also help with everyday needs while you focus on recovering and moving on from the ordeal. For example, it can put food on the table or cover your rent or mortgage. Compensation can help cover the cost of anything that you need to provide for your family each day.
Some people choose to put the money toward buying a new vehicle or home. Others use the money to make an emergency fund. Some individuals must enter a new line of work, so they put the money toward educational expenses and childcare.
The state where you live may tax your settlement.
Your attorney will guide you through all of these options and their legal implications. Your attorney can fight to help you get enough money to leave you with a fair amount after taxes and legal fees, making sure the money you need stays with you.
Want to get the settlement you deserve? Already received a settlement offer? Contact a lawyer today.
An attorney will help you understand the details of any settlement that you receive. They will ensure you know about each offer sent to you and if it is fair. Your attorney will never act without your consent because their job is to get what you want and what you need to help you move forward, even after your claim settles. By hiring an attorney, you will have someone on your side who can get you the maximum amount of money for your injuries, losses, and expenses.
Your lawyer won’t just accept whatever settlement the insurance company sends your way. Instead, they will work directly with you to understand your unique situation and handle your case in the manner that works best for you. Even if you already received a settlement offer, it is not too late to contact a St. Louis Injury Law Firm to review it.