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What Is a Settlement? Part 1

Shaking HandsMost personal injury claims never reach trial. Instead, most claims are settled before trial, or even before filing suit. Settlement is a common negotiation process that ends in the injured person giving up the right to sue in exchange for the payment of a sum of money by the party who caused the injury, or defendant. Because it fosters compromise and the voluntary resolution of disputes, California public policy strongly favors settlement.

When Can I Settle? 

Sometimes, the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company will make the injured party a settlement offer right away. The parties, however, may settle at any point during the case, even after the court has heard the evidence. If the defendant makes a settlement offer at the outset, it may not be wise to accept that offer, and an attorney will be able to help you understand the strengths of your case and the fairness of the offer.

How Much Can I Get?

The amount of the settlement depends upon the facts of the case. It may include damages to compensate the injured party for medical expenses, the cost to replace or repair damaged property, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

A settlement agreement involves negotiation between the parties, which means that both parties need to be informed about the merits of the case. Both sides will examine documentation and evidence relating to the amount of the injured person’s harm and the degree of the defendant’s fault. They may look at medical records, pay stubs, witness statements, and property repair bills to determine the value of financial losses, and examine evidence to figure out the value of the injured party’s pain, suffering, and other intangible losses. An attorney can help an injured person to decide whether going to trial will likely result in a larger recovery.

In order to settle, both sides must compromise and agree on a dollar value for the claim. The lawyer for the injured party will negotiate with the lawyer for the defendant or with the insurance company, and the parties will figure out an acceptable financial agreement. If they cannot come to an agreement on how much the entire case is worth, the parties may agree to a partial settlement. This means that they may settle some issues while continuing to litigate others.

If you are considering settling a personal injury claim or have received a settlement offer, it is important to consult an attorney. An experienced San Jose personal injury attorney will analyze the merits of your case and help you decide whether and for how much you should settle. Don’t hesitate to contact Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free consultation if you have sustained an injury. We will examine your case and begin working immediately.

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I absolutely cannot speak highly enough of CMA Law, particularly of Mr. McMahon, with whom I have had the most experience. My entire family and I trusted CMA with our case following a significant and life-altering vehicle accident, and to say they delivered is putting it lightly. They were reachable & personable at every stage of this arduous, complex, and scary process, made things easier at every stage, inspired us with confidence, and delivered results. If you're looking for a law firm to place the trust of you in your family in, look absolutely no further than CMA - this is your firm. Declan O.
I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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