Most Virginia 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 (referred to as the plaintiff) giving up the right to sue in exchange for the payment of a sum of money by the party who caused the injury (referred to as the defendant.)
When Can I Settle?
Sometimes, the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company will make the injured party a settlement offer right away. But the parties may settle at any point during the case, even if the case has reached the trial stage and the court has heard the evidence, up to the jury verdict being announced.
If the defendant makes a settlement offer at the outset, it is important for the plaintiff to consult with a Virginia personal injury attorney before agreeing to any amount. The attorney will be able to help you understand the strengths of your case and the fairness of the offer. In most situations, if a settlement offer is made right away, it is likely much lower than what the victim is actually entitled to for all the losses their injuries have caused them.
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, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
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.
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 both sides are unable to negotiate a fair settlement amount, the victim’s attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit and a judge or jury will decide how much the victim should receive.
Call Our Office Today
If you are considering settling a personal injury claim or have received a settlement offer, it is important to consult an attorney. An experienced Virginia personal injury attorney will evaluate your case and determine what your legal options may be.
It is critical to remember that Virginia has placed a statute of limitation on how long victims have to file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for their injuries, so do not delay. Failure to file before that legal deadline could mean you lose any chance of ever filing your claim or getting justice against the person responsible for you or your loved one’s injuries.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
- How Are Defective Product Injury Claims Different from Traditional Personal Injury Claims?
- What is the difference between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?
- Personal Injury Lawsuit Misconceptions