With any personal injury case, the potential for a settlement is always present. Most cases tend to end this way rather than making it all the way to court, as it simply makes more sense for all parties involved unless there’s a serious dispute about the facts of the case.
At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys can help you determine if a settlement is the right way to go if you have a case pending. We can work with you to determine your damages sought, plus assess the position the defense is taking and decide whether a settlement might be best.
If you do end up settling, chances are you will be required to sign a release document that spares the defendant and their insurance company from any future claims against them for this same incident. It’s important to know all the elements that might be present in this release before you sign – here are some basics.
Release of Claims
The settlement releases the defendant, their insurance and any other parties from any further liability in this case. This includes all damages and losses, both past and future. Once signing, you will be forbidden from bringing these kinds of claims that are listed.
Indemnity and Hold Harmless
To take things a bit further, you may also have to indemnify and hold harmless the defendant from claims from outside parties attempting to take some part of the proceeds or profits in the release. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, health care and health insurance, court and attorney fees from third parties, and more. This is an acknowledgement that satisfying these claims and liens is your obligation.
In many cases, a confidentiality clause will be included that prevents all parties from disclosing the release, terms or settlement amount. You’re instructed to only give bland responses such as “the matter is resolved” when asked about it moving forward. Be aware that exceptions to this clause exist when it comes to certain situations, such as when you’re speaking with your hired accountant.
Attorney Fees for Enforcement
Settlement Amount and Tax Implications
If any legal action is needed in the future to enforce any part of this release, you also agree that the prevailing party will be entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
One area that will always be included in the release is the total amount of the settlement. This includes all losses, injuries and damages related to claims against the defending party. You will also be responsible for all taxes relating to these payments, including the local, state and federal levels.
Jury Waiver and Court Approval
The release also waives your right to a jury trial for any litigation related to this incident. In addition, certain cases will require a court order approving the settlement before the release becomes effective.
For more on what will be in a settlement release for a personal injury case, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.