Should I Accept an Out of Court Settlement?
There are a variety of ways to resolve a personal injury claim after an accident. Insurance could cover medical expenses or a case could go to trial, resulting in a verdict and monetary award. However the majority of cases are settled out of court (at or before compulsory conferences).
These settlements are often negotiated by personal injury lawyers from both sides. But this isn’t necessarily the quickest, cheapest or best option for the injured party. Accepting a settlement directly from the other party without consulting a lawyer can be especially risky.
Why Settle Out of Court?
So when should you accept an out of court settlement? Here are a few things to consider:
Lengthy court battles are expensive
It’s often beneficial for all parties to come to an injury settlement out of court to avoid an expensive, drawn-out and time consuming settlement process in court. Court battles can be emotionally painful for accident victims. When a company is involved, the publicity can be damaging for them.
Insurers have commitments to compensate victims
Insurance companies in Queensland have a legal commitment to compensate victims of accidents. In a workcover statutory claim, most benefits are payable regardless of fault. However, if the victim wants to make a common law claim for damages, they are required to prove negligence before money is awarded. This is also the case with motor vehicle and public liability claims.
Need to pay off bills
Victims are usually eager to see a resolution if they are waiting on financial compensation to pay off large bills as a result of the accident.
Court cases are unpredictable
Court battles can be risky. One of the advantages of an out of court settlement is that both parties have the opportunity to voice opinions and agree or disagree about potential settlement offers. This isn’t always the case in court, where the final decision is up to the judge or jury.
Work Related Injury
Every workplace in Queensland must be insured for workers compensation to protect employees in the event of a workplace accident and any injuries that may occur. Most employers are insured by Workplace Queensland while some larger corporations are self-insured. If you are injured at work, it’s important to consult an experienced work injury lawyer to guide you throughout the workers compensation phase and advise you on whether there are potential avenues for a common law damages claim.
The monetary compensation you can claim is dependent on a wide range of factors. The more straight-forward the injury and the circumstances are, the more likely it is that an early resolution of settlement will take place. For example, if you fall and break a bone because the floor was wet from cleaning and there were no warning signs up, it would be a fairly clear case of negligence on the part of the employer.
Motor Vehicle Injury
If you’re injured in an accident as the driver or passenger of a vehicle and you believe the accident was not your fault, an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer can run a claim seeking compensation for your injuries. Compensation is covered by Compulsory Third Party insurance or by the State if the driver is unregistered.
A settlement is generally an appropriate course of action if the person you’re making a claim against is clearly at fault, for example if they were speeding or were running a red light. But once again it is dependent on the exact circumstances of each case. The same can be said of medical negligence and public liability claims.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced personal injury lawyer will get victims the settlements they deserve. They will investigate claims, collect evidence, negotiate and advocate on their client’s behalf. Most of the time, the case will be resolved before courtroom litigation is necessary.
However it can be difficult to choose the right lawyer to manage your personal injuries claim. When you are finding a lawyer to deal with your claim, ask the following questions:
- * How many claims do you settle at or before compulsory conferences?
- * How many claims go from a compulsory conference to “commencement of proceedings” (filing the claim with the court to start the process for trial)?
- * How many claims that commence proceedings result in a better net settlement (settlement amount minus legal and other costs) than could have been achieved at the compulsory conference and by how much?
Keep in mind there are time limits you must abide by when making a personal injury claim. It’s important you act quickly after your injury and seek advice on your individual case.
Brisbane Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured, speak to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to get an assessment on your claim. We offer a no win no fee service and will strive to achieve the best result for your circumstances.
Get in touch with one of our personal injury lawyers on (07) 3171 9313 or contact us online.