What Is a Settlement Agreement?

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At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, we fight for every penny and are never in a hurry. We’ll take the time to negotiate your settlement. It may take several months to reach a settlement agreement, which ends the dispute and enables each party to voluntarily avoid litigation. This process also gives your attorney room to fight for a higher dollar amount.

Here, we’ll explain what a settlement agreement is, give an approximate timeline, and cover the basic steps to reaching a settlement

Legal Settlement Defined

In business law, a settlement is when an account is paid in full, satisfied, or closed. Wills and estates define it a little differently. Here, it’s the complete execution of an estate by the executor, or the conveyance of property interests to beneficiaries differently than if they were considered heirs under law.

The terms of settlement agreements are often kept private, which is an advantage over litigation where the outcome of the case becomes public record.

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement Agreement?

On average, a settlement negotiation takes around one to three months. It can take much longer depending on the case and many variables. A skilled personal injury lawyer can speed up the negotiation process while pursuing maximum compensation for injuries, property damage, etc. The basic stages of the process include:

  • Writing a Demand Letter: Written by the party filing the claim, the demand letter informs the liable party or their insurance company of the intent to pursue a fair settlement. It states the amount of money an injury/accident has cost the victim, the total compensation they’re seeking, and evidence or details of the accident supporting the claim. Insurance companies can take weeks to several months to respond to a demand letter.
  • Negotiation: Insurers usually make an offer that’s lower than the dollar amount initially requested. Therefore, most negotiations include back-and-forth exchanges between the claimant and insurance company. You’re not required to agree to the first counteroffer. Your attorney can provide a counteroffer and include even more documentation, such as medical receipts and repair bills. Both parties can continue going back and forth, which extends the length of negotiating time.
  • Litigation: If both parties cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to court. The decision of a judge or jury can be unpredictable, so litigation comes with many uncertainties. Trials are also extremely expensive and can account for a significant portion of any proceeds won. Also consider the time; the discovery process prior to litigation can take up to a year. But you can settle a personal injury lawsuit before a trial ever begins, saving time, money, and stress.

Barriers to Negotiation

Reaching a settlement agreement isn’t easy. Insurance providers often use stall tactics to avoid paying a higher settlement. They know the victim is stressed and will use these hard-bargaining tactics to exhaust them mentally and financially.

Techniques used include commitment tactics in which the adjuster say’s their hands are tied or they’re limited in the amount they can offer. The insurance company can also say their counteroffer is the only option that’s available. Or they can try to convince the claimant their settlement isn’t worth as much as they believe.

If you need ongoing medical treatment and care for your injuries, you may not know your full medical expenses. You can’t accurately calculate them until you reach maximum medical improvement. Settling a case quickly may mean paying out-of-pocket for future medical expenses. If you wait to resolve it, then you can claim all medical costs related to your accident.

How Do I Expedite Settlement Negotiations?

While not everything is in your control, you can speed up the process by:

  • Organizing all relevant documents that can serve as evidence.
  • Having a consistent message every time you give a statement.
  • Knowing how much you’re asking for and sticking to that number.

It’s also important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury law and has an excellent track record of reaching favorable settlement agreements.

Call Jacob Today

Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer has helped countless clients file their claims and win maximum compensation (we’ve won millions of dollars in damages over the years). We know all tactics used by insurance companies and always have your best interests in mind. Serving all of California, The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani is ready to start your claim and negotiate a settlement agreement that works for you. Call 888-952-2952 for your free case consultation.

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