Settlement: Legal Definition
A settlement is a voluntary agreement between two parties that ends a dispute and results in the dismissal of any litigation. A settlement can be beneficial because it speeds up the process of litigation and thereby avoids ongoing legal fees.
Settlements are usually negotiated on behalf of the parties involved through insurance adjusters or attorneys. However, the parties to the claim or lawsuit will grant final approval of any settlement offer.
In Arizona, parties to a dispute may opt to have a judge conduct a settlement conference to help resolve their case. This service is available without cost to those participating.
A staff attorney chooses the cases based on the trial court record and other information required by the state. The Settlement Conference Program in Arizona is generally a two-step process, involving a conference via phone, followed by an in-person conference if required.
Terms of a Settlement
In general, settlements involve one party paying compensation to satisfy the claims of the other party. In a civil lawsuit that is settled out of court, the settlement agreement will lay out the details of the compromise. Settlement agreements may also stipulate:
- Confidentiality: Neither party may publicly discuss the terms of the settlement.
- Timing: When the compensation, whether financial or tangible (such as replacement or repair of property) must be received.
- No further action: The parties agree this specific matter will be closed, and neither party will attempt additional legal action or demand further compensation.
When to Accept a Settlement
An insurance company wants to give you as little as possible, so they will offer you the lowest settlement possible, hoping you will accept it. This leads many people to accept settlements that are far too low for their losses. We recommend that you run a settlement offer by a lawyer to ensure it covers all your damages. If not, the lawyer can negotiate.
Reasons to Negotiate a Settlement
There are several reasons why it would be beneficial to negotiate a settlement rather than go to trial over your case.
First and foremost is the stress you will have to endure as the case drags on. Aside from uncertainty over whether or not the case will be ruled in your favor, you may face the prospect of taking the witness stand and being questioned by the other side’s attorney.
Your other major consideration is cost. If your case goes to court, you will be responsible for the expense of your lawyers, obtaining depositions or reports from expert witnesses, and other court fees.
Finally, if your case goes to court, all the details become part of the public record, which anyone can review. If you are able to settle the case out of court, most details are kept out of court documents, and confidentiality can be a part of the settlement agreement.
When To Contact a Lawyer
If you are in dispute with an insurance company or private party, over compensation you deserve, the prospect of a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit may seem daunting. However, it is not your only option. Zanes Law may be able to assist you by negotiating a settlement on your behalf and more quickly recovering the compensation you deserve. Start by calling for a free case review: 866-499-8989. We do everything from A to Z.