According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about three to four percent of personal injury cases go to trial. That means that a whopping 97 percent of injury cases are settled out of court. There are many reasons that both the plaintiff and defendant typically prefer to reach a settlement out of court:
- Recover damages faster
- Less stress
- Cheaper than a trial
- Gives both parties control over the outcome
- Settlement negotiations cannot be used against either party if the case proceeds to trial
Your personal injury lawyer will handle the personal injury settlement conference on your behalf in order to fight for the maximum settlement possible.
What is a personal injury settlement conference?
A personal injury settlement conference is a legal proceeding designed to facilitate the resolution of a personal injury lawsuit through negotiation and settlement, rather than proceeding to a trial. This conference typically takes place outside the courtroom and involves various parties, including the plaintiff (injured party) and the defendant (alleged at-fault party or their insurance company), as well as their respective attorneys.
Here’s how a personal injury settlement conference generally works:
Before the conference, both parties gather and exchange relevant information, evidence, and documentation related to the case. This includes medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and any other evidence that may be pertinent to the lawsuit.
On the scheduled conference date, all parties involved, including their attorneys, meet to discuss the case. The conference can take different forms:
- Mediation: In some cases, a neutral third-party mediator facilitates the discussions between the parties. The mediator does not make decisions but helps the parties reach a voluntary settlement by assisting with communication and negotiation.
- Negotiation: In other cases, the parties may engage in direct negotiations without a mediator. Their attorneys or representatives negotiate the terms of a potential settlement.
If an agreement is reached during the conference, the terms of the settlement are documented in a legally binding contract. This agreement typically outlines the compensation amount, any applicable terms or conditions, and the release of liability.
Once a settlement agreement is reached and signed, the lawsuit is typically dismissed, and the case is resolved without the need for a trial. However, if the parties cannot reach an agreement during the settlement conference, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will make a final decision on the matter.
Personal injury settlement conferences can be an effective way to resolve legal disputes without the time and expense of a trial. They allow both parties to have more control over the outcome and potentially reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. It’s important to note that the specific procedures and rules for settlement conferences may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the case.
How many times do you have to attend a settlement conference in a personal injury case?
The number of times you have to attend a settlement conference in a personal injury case can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and the specific procedures followed in your jurisdiction.
In many cases, a single settlement conference may be sufficient to resolve the dispute. Parties and their attorneys come together, negotiate, and reach a settlement agreement during this conference.
In more complex cases or when the parties are unable to reach an agreement during the initial conference, additional settlement conferences may be scheduled. These can occur at various stages of the litigation process to encourage further negotiation.
If your personal injury case involves mediation, you may attend one or more mediation sessions, depending on the progress of negotiations. Mediation often involves multiple meetings, and the process may continue until a settlement is reached or the parties determine that a resolution is unlikely.
In some jurisdictions, the court may order parties to attend multiple settlement conferences or mediation sessions as part of the litigation process. This is done to encourage settlement and reduce the court’s caseload.
In some cases, the parties may engage in ongoing negotiations outside of formal settlement conferences. They may continue discussions and exchange offers and counteroffers until a resolution is reached.
Ultimately, the number of settlement conferences you attend will depend on the specifics of your case and the progress of negotiations. The goal of these conferences is to reach a settlement that is acceptable to both parties, but there is no fixed number of conferences that applies universally to all personal injury cases. It’s important to work closely with your attorney to determine the best approach for your specific situation and to be prepared for the possibility of attending multiple conferences if needed to achieve a resolution.
Seek the help of a personal injury lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!