Overview of Settlement Process

Victims that elect to use the settlement process pick an alternative to the challenge of confronting the responsible party in a courtroom. In other words, the settlement process represents an alternative to the civil lawsuit process.

An effort to settle starts with an offer

The offer could come in the form of a demand from the claimant. That demand could get stated at the end of a demand letter.

—The offer/demand could be made before initiation of a lawsuit
—The offer could be made during the trial, as long as the judge had not announced the jury’s verdict.

Claimants taking part in a settlement process must accept their obligations, after agreement on terms

Before receiving the settlement check, the claimant must forego pursuit of any action against the insurance company, if that same action were related to the current case. Personal injury lawyer in Ottawa knows that claimants must acknowledge their relinquishment of any further charges by sending a signed release form to the insurance company.

Advantages to settling a dispute by arriving at negotiated agreement

Both parties manage to control the risks that one or both could have to face. The claimant controls the risk of having the jury rule against providing the victim/claimant with any award. The insurance company controls the risk of having the jury hit the defendant with the need to pay an unexpectedly large amount of money. That money would come from the funds held by the insurance company.

The public learns nothing about the details of the settlement. It does not learn about one party’s negligence, or the size of one party’s request for reimbursement of losses.

It takes less time to resolve a dispute, when the opposing parties agree to negotiate terms on which both sides can come to agreement. Unlike a trial, there is no need for pre-trial proceedings, and no chance for that the defendant might seek an appeal.

The victim of an accident can save money by choosing to settle with the opposing party, instead of suing that same individual. The victim’s attorney would charge a smaller fee for help with a settlement. When personal injury lawyers must spend many hours in a courtroom, advocating for a client, then that same client has to pay a higher fee.

Just how high is that fee? Compared to the practice of taking 1/3 of the client’s winnings as a contingency fee, following negotiations, a lawyer could take 40% or more of a court-ordered judgment.

Some claimants try to carry out the negotiations on their own, without a lawyer’s help. However, that could prove risky, especially if the insurance company’s adjuster were to suggest that the victim could be partly to blame for the accident, or for the resulting injuries.