In any complete settlement agreement, there is more within that document than just a payment term and a provision for a release of claims. These additional terms may seem to be a mere formality, but they can be very important. That is just one of many reasons why seasoned California personal injury counsel can benefit you, making certain that all of the terms (rather than just the dollar figures) properly protect your needs and interests.
A recent California case is an example of the importance of these “other” terms. Christopher, a man who filed a personal injury lawsuit in Southern California, worked out a settlement with the defendant. In that settlement, the defendant agreed to pay Christopher $250,000 in exchange for ending the lawsuit.
In the settlement agreement, one of the additional terms beyond the payment provisions stated that, if either side had to undertake a court action to enforce the settlement agreement (and it won that subsequent case), that party was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees.
That is an important assurance because, if the defendant fails to pay you the sum owed to you under the terms of a settlement agreement, successfully pursuing an order to enforce the settlement can be time-consuming, both for you and your attorneys, meaning that the cost of attorneys’ fees can be substantial.
In this situation, it was the plaintiff who failed to perform. Even after the defendant paid, the plaintiff asserted that there was no settlement and refused to drop the lawsuit. The defendant was forced to pursue additional legal action and racked up more than $47,000 in legal fees, which the appeals court said it was entitled to recover from the plaintiff after it won the action to enforce the settlement agreement.
In any personal injury case, there are two options available to you as an injured person. You may choose to litigate your case through the entire process and seek a jury verdict after a trial. For some injured plaintiffs, going to trial and recovering a judgment and award of damages is the best way to achieve a fair and full recovery for the harm inflicted. The other option is to settle the case. In some circumstances, if the settlement offer is substantial enough, settlement can be a beneficial way for you to obtain the compensation you need while avoiding the delays, expenses, and stress that can accompany a long civil litigation process.
Once you have decided that settlement is a viable and potentially useful option for you, simply agreeing on a dollar amount is not the end. As this case demonstrates, there are many things that go into a settlement agreement. To make sure that you and your rights remain sufficiently protected, even after the settlement is signed and your court case dismissed, you need a settlement agreement document that has all of the terms in it to ensure that you’re safeguarded.
In other words, you need skilled counsel who is truly experienced in handling personal injury cases and settlements to make sure that the document you sign is what you truly need. For your needs in your personal injury litigation, contact the diligent San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured people pursue the compensation they need for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Errors in Defendant’s Settlement Offer Allow Injured California Driver to Avoid Paying Costs, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published March 23, 2017
Without Clear Proof of Authorization, California Woman Isn’t Bound by Settlement and is Free to Pursue Injury Lawsuit, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published July 6, 2016