In North Carolina, many cases which could be decided in court are resolved outside of court through settlement. Settlement occurs when parties to a civil case agree to resolve the legal case outside of court so a lawsuit does not need to proceed to its conclusion.
Settlement is common in many different kinds of cases, especially in personal injury claims. A personal injury case can settle when a victim who was hurt agrees to accept compensation in exchange for signing a liability release and not continuing a lawsuit until a jury reaches a verdict.
For example, if a pedestrian was hit by a negligent driver, the pedestrian victim of the auto accident could sue the driver. Instead of going through with a full lawsuit and allowing a court to decide on whether to award compensation, and in what amount, the pedestrian could negotiate a settlement with the insurer of the driver. The insurer may agree to pay a set sum of money, and the pedestrian would sign a release of liability in exchange for this money.
Settlements can be preferred to court cases by both plaintiffs and defendants. Settlements allow a potentially long and costly trial to be avoided. Settlements also provide certainty: A potential defendant knows what total losses will be, and a plaintiff is certain of receiving at least some compensation. The Judicial Department of the State of North Carolina encourages settlement for many types of disputes through its “extensive private mediation program.”
Settlement is possible only if negotiations are successful in facilitating a resolution outside of court that both parties agree to. A Charlotte injury lawyer can provide assistance negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
Once a settlement has been agreed to, it is final. Even if it later turns out that the injuries sustained are more serious and costly than initially anticipated, undoing the settlement is not possible. As a result, it is important to have an attorney review a settlement and advise you on whether it is fair before you agree to settle the case.