In many cases, the simplest way to resolve a personal injury claim is through settlement. However, accepting a settlement from the other party without consulting a lawyer is risky. The settlement offered may fall short, resulting in the claimant waiving the right to legitimate entitlements.
Injury settlements should be negotiated by personal injury lawyers from both sides to ensure everyone meets their obligations and that the claimant is appropriately compensated.
How Do Settlement Negotiations Work?
Settlement negotiations work in a similar way to “haggling” at markets. Parties try to reach a resolution of the claim by exchanging varying offers back and forth until they reach a deal that satisfies everyone.
However, unlike haggling at a market, it’s quite difficult to determine what an appropriate settlement is without extensive legal experience and knowledge regarding personal injury claims. An experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure victims receive the settlement they deserve by thoroughly investigating claims, collecting evidence and negotiating skilfully.
When Do Settlement Negotiations Occur?
There are a number of formal opportunities for parties to enter into settlement negotiations during the pre-litigation and pre-trial processes, including:
- At the compulsory conference – generally occurring within 9 to 12 months of the claim commencing. This is held prior to legal proceedings and is called a compulsory conference because the parties must hold and participate in the conference before commencing legal proceedings.The parties are usually required to exchange final offers at the conclusion of the conference, which must be genuine and remain open for 14 days unless rescinded with the order of a court.
- During mediation – involving a settlement conference between parties that is presided over by a mediator, usually an experienced senior barrister specialising in personal injury law.The mediator offers expert advice regarding the claim prospects and the value of the claim. These mediations are usually held after proceedings have commenced and prior to the matter being set down for a trial date.
- During legal proceedings – where formal offers can be exchanged between the parties. These offers must remain open for 14 days after being made and cannot be rescinded without an order from the court.
Claims can also be settled before the compulsory conference. State legislation in Queensland tries to encourage and facilitate the resolution of personal injury claims between parties without the need for litigation or for the matter to proceed to trial.
Essentially, this is because the costs involved in running claims to trial are so high and can eat into the compensation or damages of the injured individual.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Settling claims within the pre-trial period will lower costs and prevent the stress of a trial. When you choose a lawyer, ensure they are capable of managing your personal injuries claim effectively by determining how many claims they settle before or at compulsory conferences.
Ask how many claims go from a compulsory conference to the commencement of proceedings. Also, ask how often claims that commence proceedings result in a better net settlement (settlement amount minus legal costs) and by how much.
Brisbane Injury Lawyers
If you need an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brisbane, speak to the team at Brisbane Injury Lawyers to get an assessment on your claim or to find out more about the settlement process. We strive to achieve the best possible result for clients, offering a “no win, no fee” service.
Call one of our personal injury lawyers today on (07) 3171 9313 or contact us online.