Reaching a Settlement When You Suffer A Personal Injury - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 15 July 2019

Reaching a Settlement When You Suffer A Personal Injury

#AskZevBergman

The goal of the lawyer representing you in a claim for damages for personal injuries is to obtain the maximum amount possible whether by settlement or by a verdict after trial. It is important for you to have some knowledge of the settlement process and the types of settlements in order to allow you to make an informed decision when it comes time to discuss resolution of your claim for personal injuries with your Ontario personal injury lawyer.

What is a settlement?

A settlement is an agreement voluntarily entered in to by the parties in a personal injury lawsuit. As a practical matter, a settlement can be reached before or after a lawsuit is started. While the vast majority of civil cases settle before going to trial, the facts of a particular case and the strength of the evidence supporting a claim for damages are factors lawyers weigh in deciding whether or not to settle a claim. Some claims settle on the eve of or during a trial while other cases never reach a settlement and proceed to trial.

Types of settlements

Settlement of a personal injury case usually results in a lump-sum payment of the amount agreed upon by the parties after negotiations, but it is not the only type of settlement. Payment of a structured settlement takes place over a predetermined length of time rather than as a one-time payment.

Once all parties agree to a structured settlement, an annuity is purchased through an insurance company by the party agreeing to settle the claim. You have control over how the payments come to you, so you could opt to receive them on a monthly, quarterly or any other basis you choose.

One reason for taking a structured settlement over a lump-sum payment is to avoid the risk of spending the entire settlement at once. Spacing the payments out can also be designed to coincide with anticipated future events, such as attending university, buying a house or having money for retirement.

How do cases get settled?

Settlements are reached through negotiations between the lawyer for the injured person and the lawyers and insurance companies working on behalf of the parties being sued based upon their negligent conduct. Another method is to involve a third party in the process through mediation.

Mediation is mandatory for lawsuits filed in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor, but the parties to personal injury lawsuits filed elsewhere could agree to mediation on their own. The process begins with the parties choosing an impartial third party to serve as the mediator.

The role of the mediator is not to impose a settlement on the parties. Instead, a mediator hears each party’s story, including the evidence supporting it, and attempts to bring the parties closer together. The efforts of a neutral mediator may help the parties to work out issues that had been keeping them apart by pointing out strengths and weaknesses the parties might be more willing to seriously consider than if it had come from an opposing lawyer in the case.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of people injured in Ontario through the fault of others. Their knowledge of the law and negotiating skills are put to good use on behalf of injured parties as they strive to achieve fair settlements on behalf of their clients. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

Faqs

How are personal injury settlement values calculated?

Two primary factors influence the final value of your personal injury settlement. The first factor is the actual monetary cost of treating/remedying any physical injuries you experience during and after the incident/accident. These healthcare costs include, and are not limited to medical procedures, prescription and OTC medication, orthotic devices, physiotherapy adjustment counseling.

The second factor, pain and suffering damages, features an arbitrary monetary as determined by a judge or mediator. These Pain and suffering damages encompass physical pain and the wide range of adverse emotions affecting you and your family due to the personal injury, e.g., anguish, frustration, bitterness, depression, etc. Your settlement should also include any additional costs, including loss of income due to your personal injury, childcare expenses, living expenses, home-based care costs, etc.

Can I reject a settlement offer?

Yes. However, this right applies only in out-of-court settlements of personal injury claims, whereby you can renegotiate for a higher offer through a neutral mediator. You still retain the right to reject or accept the settlement offer even when your personal injury claim goes to court.

How do personal injury settlements work for class action lawsuits?

A lawyer files a representative personal injury case before a judge, where the judge decides who qualifies for settlements related to the case in a Class Action Lawsuit. This decision typically features a set period relevant to the particular personal injury claim and limits the number of potential applicants.

Upon winning the class-action lawsuit, the defendant is required to establish a fund tasked with disbursing settlement payments to individuals who qualify. The defendant is also required to publicly announce the existence of the settlement fund via mainstream media. Anyone who qualifies for class action suit settlement needs only to prove their eligibility to receive a settlement payment via check or direct money transfer.

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