After an accident, the at-fault party may be held liable for their role in the victim’s damages and losses. In many cases, these claims do not proceed to trial and instead get resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods. Some common forms of ADR are arbitration, mediation, and settlement discussions. Although similar to a trial, victims can proceed without counsel, the results in these situations tend to be less favorable towards claimants. Attorneys play a critical role during every stage of a Florida personal injury lawsuit and can help claimants recover the damages they deserve.
Settlement agreements occur when the claimant and opposing party agree to settle the claims for payment. These agreements usually require the claimant to halt all legal proceedings related to the incident in exchange for the opposing party’s payment. These agreements release the opposing party without the requirement that they admit fault. However, it is essential to note that a court may overturn the settlement agreement if it is defective. A defective settlement agreement is made under duress, fraud, mutual mistake, or misrepresentation. Further, in some situations, a judge may not accept a settlement agreement.
The binding and complex nature of these agreements elucidates the importance of a skilled and experienced attorney during settlement proceedings. In many situations, insurance companies draft and present settlement agreements. As such, these agreements inherently protect the opposing party or insurance company over the claimant. Additionally, the terms of the agreement may include clauses that prohibit the claimant from pursuing claims against third-parties. Settlement agreements require a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the interplay between various areas of the law.