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.
A recent Florida car accident case highlighted the complex nature of settlement agreements. The appeal arose when a claimant argued that her acceptance of the opposing party’s settlement offer was valid because the other party did not legally withdraw their offer. In this case, the parties exchanged settlement offers around the same time. The claimant’s offer was less beneficial than the opposing parties; however, the opposing party accepted the offer before the claimant. The claimant argued that the other party’s offer did not expire, and she should have been able to accept it. The court found that because the claimant could not fulfill the opposing party’s settlement agreement’s obligations, their agreement was not valid. Therefore, the court vacated the trial court’s ruling allowing enforcement of the claimant’s settlement agreement.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of the Negligence of Another?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a Florida car accident, contact Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. for assistance. The attorneys at our office have extensive experience handling all stages of personal injury claims. We have successfully advocated on behalf of Florida injury victims in their claims stemming from motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, nursing home abuse and negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Through our advocacy and representation, we have recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to discuss your case with an experienced Florida injury attorney.