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What Is A Personal Injury Settlement Agreement?

By Butler Prather LLP on March 17, 2022

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual or entity in the state of Georgia, then you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses. This includes coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and more. Often, these claims are resolved through settlement with insurance carriers, but what exactly is a settlement agreement in a personal injury claim? Here, we want to review what a settlement agreement is, how quickly it is likely to happen, and whether or not you will have to go to court.

What Does a Settlement Agreement Consist Of?

A personal injury settlement agreement in Georgia is a legally binding contract that contains the amount of financial compensation being exchanged from one party to the other. For a personal injury claim, this will include dollar amounts surrounding compensation for the following:

  • All past, current, and future expected medical expenses
  • Lost wages paid to the injury victim if they cannot work
  • Loss of future earnings if a person is disabled
  • Various out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Properly calculated non-economic losses, including pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life

A personal injury settlement will also consist of a release of liability, which means that the defendant (the at-fault party) will not be on the line for any further compensation outside of the settlement agreement. This means that the plaintiff (the injury victim) will be unable to return to the defendant to recover any additional compensation above and beyond what the agreement already specifies.

How Quickly Will a Settlement Happen?

How long it takes for a personal injury settlement to come through will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular personal injury that occurs in Georgia. The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved through settlement with an insurance carrier in this state, but settlements can also occur after a personal injury lawsuit is filed in civil court.

In some cases, the settlement agreement may be reached within a month or two after an injury occurs, but that is only if there is little to no dispute over the facts of the case. If there is any disagreement over liability or how much compensation should be paid, a settlement agreement could take multiple months or even years.

Will You Need to go to Court?

As we mentioned, most injury claims are resolved through a settlement with an insurance carrier. However, if a personal injury claim does have to be filed in civil court, this means that the plaintiff and the defendant move one step closer to having to go to trial.

When the lawsuit is filed, this begins the discovery process where both sides will exchange information and continue investigating. Negotiations often continue during this process, and it is very common for a settlement agreement to be reached before the case does go to trial. Only if an agreement cannot be reached between the two parties will a personal injury victim have to go to trial to resolve their claim.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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