In personal injury cases, courtroom battles are often the last resort. People generally want to avoid the time and expense of court, and the system accounts for this fact.
Lawyers often begin a case with letters of intent. When someone receives this letter, they can either allow the case to move forward, or they can negotiate a settlement.
When engaged in these negotiations, you should always have a skilled attorney present. The opposing party will try to distract you with a settlement that seems large. This sum may, however, not be enough to cover all your expenses. Your attorney will have the experience to know whether a deal is fair or not. They understand when it’s time to push for a larger sum to meet their client’s needs.
Here are some alternatives to court that your attorney may employ.
Attorneys Negotiating With One Another
This is one of the simplest, quickest ways to reach an agreement. Lawyers often settle matters using this method. Quite simply, lawyers who represent opposing sides meet to reach an agreement. Their clients can be present at this meeting, but the attorneys can also conduct this business alone. Each side has its demands and conditions they will and won’t accept. Lawyers work these terms out with their clients beforehand.
If the attorneys cannot settle, they can opt for another negotiation tactic, or they can take the case to court.
Arbitration is like a trial, but you set the rules for the outcome. You can decide on a wildly different method than a courtroom trial, or you can keep it more traditional. After both sides agree to the rules, they sign an agreement and move forward.
Normally, arbitration has an arbitrator. This person generally decides the outcome of the settlement. You can have a single arbitrator or a panel, usually up to three people.
After setting the rules and selecting an arbitrator(s), each side presents its case. Depending on the agreement, you can present evidence, witnesses, and so on. The arbitrator will decide the outcome of the settlement.
Make sure your attorneys thoroughly vet any arbitrator in your case. An arbitrator doesn’t have to be a legal professional, and you must make sure they are qualified to handle your situation.
In meditation, the goal is not to “win” or “lose” a case. Everyone works together for a mutually beneficial outcome. This process involves a mediator, a legal professional with psychological training. This training helps keep negotiations moving and can keep everyone calm if tempers rise.
You may attend mediation with a representative, and we highly recommend that you give this role to your attorney. They can help speak up for you, keep you organized, and offer suggestions when you hit roadblocks.
Remember, mediation requires compromise. You can expect that you will not get everything you request. However, some people find mediation gives them peace of mind. In mediation, you agree to every decision. Nothing is forced on you.
Listen to Your Attorney
Most people want to avoid court whenever possible. Your attorney is sensitive to your needs, but they also know when it’s time to take your case to the courtroom. Perhaps the other side is inflexible, making an agreement impossible.
Also, your attorney usually doesn’t want to pursue a case that they can’t win. If they tell you that court is your best option, they probably have a strong argument that they believe will succeed.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and need financial compensation, reach out to our firm for help. We’re here for you, whether you need to settle in or out of court. To schedule time with us, call today at (602) 483-6114 or fill out our online contact form.