Articles Posted in Settlement

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I found this post over at San Francisco Mediation: A Better Solution authored by San Francisco Attorney Paula M. Lawhon that caught my attention because of its informative analysis of mediation in the context of a personal injury case.  It deftly chronicles the mediation process from start to finish.  If you will soon be involved in a mediation, irrespective of the type of case you have, I recommend checking out this post:

Here's an example of a recent personal injury mediation from a serious car accident (with some details changed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the parties and the mediation):

The parties at the mediation were the injured woman (the plaintiff) and her attorney as well as the insurance carrier and the attorney appointed by the insurance carrier to defend the driver against the plaintiff's claims of serious personal injury from the car accident. The driver was not present because the insurance carrier and its attorney were there to represent his interests and they had the authority needed to make the decisions. (This is why we pay for car insurance.) The plaintiff was seeking almost $1 million in damages.

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Dallas, Texas lawyer Bob Kraft over at his P.I.S.S.D blog has a great guest post from Chris Jacobson of Criminal Justice regarding the pros and cons of settlement.  Here is this very informative and useful post:

No one really wants to go to court and go through the long and often messy process that is a trial, but when it comes to claiming what’s rightfully yours, it’s not good to give up without a fight. And that’s where your personal injury lawyer comes into the picture and helps you deal with not just your monetary compensation, but also the emotional fallout as well. By helping you understand your case better and providing you with the psychological boost you need to stay out of depression in this trying time, your attorney can make your life much easier by helping you decide if it is better to take the case to court or settle outside after mediation or arbitration.

There are both pros and cons to settling out of court, and even though each case is unique, the following apply to most cases in general.

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According to USA Today roughly 19 million visitors pass through Boston each year.  It is no surprise given all that Boston has to offer.  With such a huge number of visitors, it is no wonder that many are injured.  Many visitors are injured in car accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accident cases.  Visitors are sometimes more prone to accidents given their lack of familiarity with Boston.  However, the fact that you do not live in Massachusetts does not mean you cannot hire a Massachusetts lawyer to represent you.

My office has represented out-of-state clients injured in car accidents, hotels, stores, trains, on escalators, etc.  If you or someone you know has been injured while a visitor in Boston, feel free to call my office.  We would be happy to provide a no-obligation phone consultation.  

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This is a topic I deal with quite frequently when representing personal injury victims.  Often, my clients will call me and tell me the accident they were involved in has financially harmed them so much, they are willing to take a loan out.  The loan is typically financed by a pre-settlement funding company.  When my clients ask me about this option, I try very hard to persuade them not to take out such a loan, because the interest rates can be daunting. 

Basically, the way it works is this: the pre-settlement funding company will closely analyze the client's case, and loan application, and then decide whether or not the case is strong enough to guarantee the company will recoup their money, once the case settles.

I am only a proponent of these loans if and only if the client absolutely needs the money and is willing to pay the very high interest rates.  Peachtree, based in Florida, has a good reputation, as well as very favorable interest rates.   

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I am a very strong proponent of mediation because it offers so many advantages for my injured clients.  Trials are expensive, unpredictable, stressful, and if possible, avoidable with mediation.  Here are some  reasons that make mediation so attractive for Massachusetts personal injury claimants:

1) it is relatively inexpensive (roughly $500/side for a half-day);

2) it is confidential;

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NO!  Never.  These lenders offer loans to those who have pending personal injury claims open, in the hopes of hooking injury victims who are financially strapped and will agree to unreasonable loan repayments terms. 

I always counsel my injury clients not to take out such loans, unless it is absolutely necessary.  These lending companies charge unreasonably high interest rates and fees that you will be paying back for years.  Therefore, you need to think long and hard before taking out this type of loan.

If you must take out such a loan, I have heard from colleagues that PeachTree is a sensible alternative, but only if you are absolutely desperate for the money.

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1) It compensates for the medical treatment the injury victim had to endure;

2) It covers the medical bills and liens that must be paid out of the settlement;

3) It adequately compensates injury victim for lost wages, and if applicable, future lost wages or impairment of earning capacity;

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