September 26, 2009
2 key points to stay focused on, as you are settling your lawsuit; a quick and fair settlement and consideration for current and future needs. The process of settling a lawsuit can be a tedious and mysterious event. Relying on your busy attorney to keep you informed can be an exercise in frustration. The entire process can seem as slow as molasses. Compounding the pain could be the financial and emotional difficulties caused by the source of the lawsuit itself.
On the other hand, legal representatives on both sides are contriving the fairest possible terms that both sides can find acceptable. Looking at the same problem from two different sides can generate two very difficult ideas of what is fair. Thus the negotiations can take more time than what would seem appropriate. But in most cases everyone is looking to complete the matter quickly and fairly. You will best serve your case by having reasonable expectations and demands, and being prepared to negotiate. I would recommend that you start high of course.
Planning for future needs is an important part of the settlement process. In some cases a set lump sum amount is the simplest and most efficient means of awarding and closing the lawsuit. Often a consequence of the case is some injury or need that a structured payout can best address. Children losing a parent, a worker losing the means to produce are just two of many examples of situations where future periodic lumps could be most advantageous. Monthly payments to help with regular financial needs, and periodic lumps to meet major life needs like college, home buying, retirement, etc.
There is also a belief that a lump sum up front gives the recipients the opportunity to invest on their own. This may or may not be the best option depending on the current and future needs of the plaintiff and the access to the best possible investment guidance to safeguard their financial investment. Either way, focusing on a quick and fair settlement, that has current and future monetary goals in mind, is in the best interests of all parties.
Settlement Advocate and consultant for Prosperity Partners Customer Service Department.