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How Does a Pretrial Settlement Work?

A pretrial settlement describes a scenario in which two opposing parties in a lawsuit collaborate before the trial to work out payment negotiations. After receipt of notice that a lawsuit has been filed against them, the defendant has the option to work with the claimant outside of court to agree upon liability and how to quantify the damages.

Why Settle Out of Court?

A group of professionals talking together

Instead of going through the entire process of bringing a case to court, pretrial settlements can save both parties time and money. Depending on the claimant’s agreement with their personal injury lawyer, they may be responsible for paying for legal fees, testimonies from expert witnesses, and other expenses related to the lawsuit. In some cases, the two parties can negotiate a more accurate settlement amount compared to the court’s calculation of compensation for damages.

Negotiating a Settlement

The plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer can support them throughout the process of settlement negotiations. After sharing all of the facts of the case, the claimant’s legal team can then draft a formal offer of settlement according to the terms outlined and send this to the defendant. Alternatively, both parties can have a discussion to negotiate the settlement offer together.

Keep these key tips in mind if you’re nearing settlement conversations:

  • Have a settlement range in mind before meeting with the defendant.
  • Don’t jump at the first offer. It’s standard practice for insurance adjusters to strategically start low in hopes that the other party isn’t aware of what their claim is worth.
  • Always get the settlement offer in writing.

How Do Pretrial Settlement Payouts Work?

This depends on the agreement worked out by the two parties involved in the lawsuit. In some instances, a lump sum is paid out to the injured party; in others, the plaintiff may elect to receive a structured settlement, with payments that are made periodically. Structured settlements are often chosen so that the plaintiff can avoid paying large amounts of taxes on the money they receive.

Partner With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

The legal team at Leav & Steinberg LLP has helped previous clients throughout New York achieve millions of dollars in pretrial settlements. We’ll help you file a claim for fair compensation for your injuries and other damages when another party is at fault. Request a free consultation today to speak to a member of our legal team about your case.