Ask the Expert: Settling Your Case

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There’s something romantic about a jury returning a big verdict in your favor. But the reality is that most auto law cases settle prior to trial. Find out what goes into settling your case and what to expect along the way.

No-Fault expert David Christensen recently presented a webinar to his fellow lawyers through the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. This final part the Ask the Expert series covers Christensen’s top tips about negotiations and settlement.

Case Evaluation

Many Michigan judges send all their No-Fault cases to “Case evaluation.” Three neutral decision-makers will review your case and decide an amount they think would be appropriate to resolve the matter. If both sides agree to the amount, the case is settled.

Case evaluation can be a good resolution, but there are lots of reasons why you and your lawyer might not decide to accept the amount offered. If either side refuses, then they run the risk of paying the other’s attorney fees if they don’t do better at trial. But if you have a strong case and a low case evaluation it may be worth the risk.

Facilitated Mediation

Sometimes in place of case evaluation or in addition to it, you may be asked to participate in mediation. There a neutral go-between will help you and the defendant negotiate a settlement acceptable to everyone. You and your lawyer have a more control over the outcome of mediation than case evaluation, but so does the defendant. Mediation also doesn’t usually carry the penalty of attorney fees if either side refuses a settlement. Still, it can be a useful tool to bring the parties together if you still disagree after case evaluation.

Policy Limits

Your Third Party Lawsuit will be affected by the negligent driver’s auto insurance. The defendant’s lawyer will do everything he or she can to avoid going above the policy limits. That means that you probably won’t be able to ask for anything more than the driver’s insurance will pay.

You may also have claims against the driver of your vehicle, and your own insurance provider for uninsured or under-insured motorists. Your lawyer will work with you to find out how all these policies interact, and will explain to you what to expect.

The experts at Christensen Law have been working with complex insurance policies for years. They can help you develop a strong case and get a settlement you are happy with. If you want a top lawyer negotiating for you, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.