Can a Lawyer Settle a Personal Injury Case Without the Client?

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People involved in an accident have a few legal options available to them. While some people take their personal injury cases to trial, others prefer to settle out of court. The option chosen by any party is influenced by several factors. These factors could include how long they think the case could last and the uncertainty of the outcome if the case goes to court.

Regardless of their choice, it is advisable to choose after consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis. This article looks at one of the options — settling out of court. More specifically, we will examine whether your personal injury lawyer can settle your case without you.

What Is the Process of Getting a Settlement?

You may decide to seek a settlement out of court rather than going forward with a lawsuit. One reason for this could be that it offers you more control in proceedings. For example, in a settlement discussion, you would, to a large extent, be able to determine how much you’ll get as compensation.

While the defendant would likely push for a lower settlement, you still have a say in the outcome. You could also choose to settle because it could take less time than a court case would. Often when the defendant is clearly guilty, they may be willing to agree to a quick settlement.

So what does the settlement process look like? Typically, it starts with the plaintiff sending a demand letter to the negligent party or their representative. The demand letter would usually contain the damages they are asking for and information supporting their claim.

The defendant or their representative would have the option to respond with an offer which is a counter-offer. Assuming they respond with a counter-offer, the plaintiff would go through it with their lawyers before deciding. While this may seem like a short and straightforward process, it can often run into weeks or months before both parties reach an agreement. Sometimes, they never reach a deal and instead decide to go to court.

Can My Lawyer Settle My Case Without Me?

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you is a great decision. It allows you the freedom to focus on recovery if you have been injured. In addition, you can decide to let them handle the details of your settlement if you do not wish to be involved in the back and forth. This places a lot of responsibility on them. However, your Indianapolis personal injury lawyer cannot accept a settlement without you. After receiving an offer, they are expected to present it to you.

Additionally, they are to explain the details to you while informing you of any consequences that could arise. Settling a case without your knowledge is unethical. You have the final say over what should happen to your case. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you, you may be asked what conditions you are willing to settle under.

This could mean that you are willing to settle if the defendant’s offer falls into a range you would be okay with. Other times, it could mean that you are not ready to settle below a certain amount. Either way, you must make that clear to your lawyer. There are exceptions where lawyers have been known to settle a case for their client without their knowledge or approval.

One scenario would be if the client disappeared without informing the lawyer. This is a rare occurrence, but when it happens, the lawyer could settle if the defendant’s offer falls within the range approved by the client. Consequently, they would place the plaintiff’s share of the payment in an escrow account for a specific period when the settlement is paid.

Get Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Case

Reaching an agreement on your personal injury case can often take a long time. Therefore, we recommend using an experienced personal injury lawyer for this process. However, in addition to choosing an experienced lawyer, we also recommend choosing an ethical lawyer. That way, you avoid situations where a lawyer acts on behalf of a client without obtaining approval for that.

At Stewart|Wood|Phelps, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the best service and professionalism. We’ll make use of every resource at our disposal to ensure that you get reasonable compensation. So contact us for a free case review if you believe you have a personal injury claim. We work on a contingency fee basis and demand no upfront fees.

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