Settlements may seem as easy as signing an agreement and being handed a check, but you might still need an attorney by your side.
Why? Well as it turns out, there are various legal issues that can go wrong or unnoticed during the settlement process. And while you may hope for the best, an attorney can actually safeguard your interests.
So why would you hire a lawyer even if you plan to settle?
You Want to Know If You’re Getting Screwed
Often victims will jump on the first settlement offer they are given, without knowing that the amount is really small compared to the damages. Victims can hardly be blamed for having cartoon dollar signs for eyes; defendants often approach them with a big-sounding number at a time when they are desperate for cash.
But an attorney can tell you whether the settlement offer you’ve been given is reasonable or ignorable. Unlike class-action or complex-litigation settlements which often involve judicial review of a settlement offer, there may be very little oversight on the amount you accept. So it might be smart to get a second opinion from your attorney.
You Want an Ally in Negotiations
Since an attorney has a much better eye for sizing up the success of your case, he or she will be an invaluable ally in negotiating you a fair settlement. Not only can your attorney help make settlement negotiations seem less intimidating, but he or she can also bring up options you might have never considered.
This could become very useful in terms of how your settlement payments are actually structured. An attorney can determine whether getting payments in monthly installments will help you avoid paying more in taxes.
You Want the Option to Back Out
Without representation, the party wishing to settle with you may make you feel locked in or powerless to back out of the settlement. An attorney can explain the settlement process in more detail and give you the confidence to know when you can back out of a settlement deal.