Settling a claim for personal injury * before it reaches court
It is not uncommon for a case to be settled outside of court. Generally, before that happens, the first step in making a claim is to apply to the Injuries Board. The types of personal injury claims * that are made through the injuries board first are, for example, personal injury claims * for car accidents, accidents at work * or accidents in a public place * (slip/trip or fall). However, medical negligence* claims go straight to court. The standard outcome is that you or the other party agree to, or reject, the settlement amount suggested by the Injuries Board. In cases where the amount is rejected, then court proceedings are issued. Legal proceedings are issued. Then comes the legal formalities which your personal injury solicitor * will talk you through. This will be carried out before advising you of your court date. There can be benefits of settling out of court.
What does ‘Settlement’ mean?
The term ‘settlement’ is used to describe the resolution of a legal dispute. Similiar to a claim for a personal injury against somebody, before the matter is brought to court. In the case of a settlement outside of court, the person making the claim is offered a sum of money from the defendant. The defendant is the person is at fault and this is done prior to a court hearing. If the person making the claim accepts the sum of money offered, then the case is settled and there is no need for it to proceed to a court hearing. Essentially, you are agreeing to conclude your case and claim before it reaches court. At any stage of the personal injury claim * process and legal proceedings, the defendant (person at fault) may seek to ‘settle’ the case before it is brought to court.
How is a Settlement decided?
Settling the case normally involves your legal advisors speaking on your behalf. They attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendents legal advisors. Your legal advisors will advise you as to the adequacy of a settlement and whether it is in your best interest. Settlement negotiations always take place on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. This means that the court cannot be advised of the content of those negotiations if the matter fails to settle.
Settlement Vs Going to Court
Your solicitor helps you come to a decision as to whether to settle or not. Settling a case before it reaches courts does have its pros and cons. Settling outside of court:
- Can be a quicker process than waiting for a court date
- Can be easier for the person making the personal injury claim *, and,
- The settlement amount offered by the defendant could be higher than what the court might award to you.
It is difficult to predict what a court will award. There is a chance that the settlement amount could be less than what a court might award to you. Weighing up your options is something that you should not have to do on your own. Your personal injury * solicitor will help you come to a decision.
It’s important to note that if you settle outside of court that this decision will close your case. You cannot claim for settlement at this point. For example, advice a few months or years later that your personal injury * is worse and that you now want to claim further monies.
It is important that you have the right solicitor on your side to take these considerations into account for you. It will help you decide whether the case should be settled outside of court or not. With over 30 years’ experience in personal injury claims *, Tracey Solicitor will walk you through each stage of the claims process. For a confidential chat, please feel free to call Elaine Hickey, Personal Injury * Solicitor, on 01 649 9900 or email email@example.com.