How Does the Personal Injury Settlement Process Work?
A settlement, in reference to law, is an agreement and resolution of a lawsuit without proceeding to the point of a final court appearance. The majority of personal injury cases are settled well before trial, and sometimes even before a lawsuit has been officially filed. Many plaintiffs prefer the settlement process since it typically results in less stress, fewer fees, and more privacy. Luckily, defendants often prefer to settle as well, since this does not require them to admit liability.
The ability to reach a settlement can depend on many factors, including severity of injuries, lifetime medical prognosis, and circumstances surrounding the incident. The process generally begins with a demand letter. This is a document put together by your attorney setting forth any demands, such as instruction for a business not to dispose of any evidence relating to the incident. It also includes a purposely high amount for settlement, with the expectation that the other party will want to negotiate this amount down. Typically, then the defendant and their attorney will then often respond with their arguments as to why you are not entitled to compensation. They will often attempt to discredit you, or return a low-ball counter offer. Do not be surprised or disheartened by this negotiation process – they are simply doing their best to represent their client’s best interests.
The next phase of the settlement is the discovery process. During this phase both parties gather as much evidence as possible. This can include medical bills, police reports, photographs of the accident scene, medical records, and anything else which may be relevant. Discovery also involves an exchange of information, or evidence, between the Plaintiff and Defendant. This allows both sides to have a full awareness of the facts and moves negotiations along at a faster pace. The length of this phase depends heavily on your unique situation, but commonly takes six to twelve months to complete.
Discovery also includes several legal demands for information and documents. These can include interrogatories, production of documents, and requests for admission. Interrogatories are a set of questions pertaining to the case that one party may send to another. They often include questions regarding name and contact information, insurance information, medical providers and their contact information, insurance information, potential lay and expert witnesses, description of injuries and medical treatment received, etc. The questions are answered under oath, and the party being questioned must answer honestly. Requests for admission often accompany interrogatories. These are statements which the recipient must admit as true, deny as untrue, or object and provide a reason for their objection. Whether or not you are able to achieve an out-of-court settlement will be dependent upon the evidence in your case.
When considering a settlement, your expert attorney at The Decker Law Firm will evaluate your case for its worth and will inform you of what they believe you may receive at trial. They will advise you on the minimum amount they believe is acceptable for a settlement, and will help you fight for what you are owed. When deciding if an offered settlement is acceptable, it is important to consider the potential outcomes of a trial, outcomes of cases similar to yours, and the length of time it may take. With Decker, you can trust our attorneys to make recommendations based on your best interests.
If you are awarded a settlement, the collection of damages happens after the settlement paperwork has been signed by both parties, and their respective attorneys. The date on which payment of damages must be complete will be set forth in the settlement or the order following a trial. Depending on the size of the award, it may be complete within a matter of days or may be paid across several installments. The payment will be sent to your attorney, who must first pay any liens against the lawsuit. Attorney fees and any other expenses which were agreed upon in your contract with your attorney will be paid, and then you will receive the remaining balance!
This process can feel overwhelming at times, but at The Decker Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping you. Throughout your case, our team will be here to help answer any questions you may have about your case, or about the process. With over 50 years of experience, you can trust that The Decker Law Firm has the experience and knowledge necessary to move your claim forward in an expeditious manner. Reach out to our office any time to schedule a free consultation to review your case.
When you suffer personal injuries there are many factors important to recovery, and worrying about the legal process shouldn’t be one of them! The attorneys at The Decker Law Firm work hard at making sure you receive the maximum compensation while keeping you up-to-date on the progress of your case.
Call When You Can, Text When You Can’t
The City of Norfolk recently shared that residents are now able to text 911 in emergencies. This feature went live on January 19th, 2021. Norfolk Emergency Communications Manager, Anthony Castillo, shared in an interview with 13 News Now that the feature caters to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or unable to speak. It is also intended to help those who need to reach out for help silently, or are in situations when making noise could put them in further danger.
When you text 911, the message goes to dispatchers, who then are able to direct first responders where to go. It is still faster to call 911, but if you find yourself in a situation where you need to text, it is an excellent option. If you are texting, be sure to share your exact location & nature of your emergency in your first text, don’t send photos or videos, and silence your phone if you are concerned about your safety.
It’s important to remember that contacting 911 should be reserved for situations which require the immediate response of emergency services such as police, fire, or paramedics. Situations like these may include crimes in progress, as well as life or death emergencies. If your situation requires police but is not an emergency (such as loud parties, a group of juveniles loitering in front of your home, neighbor disputes, etc.) you should reach out to Norfolk’s non-emergency number.
Norfolk Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe
To kick off this new year, we want to highlight and celebrate some good news! The Virginia Zoo recently announced that they welcomed a newborn Masai giraffe calf on January 11th! They shared that at birth the new calf weighed 148.5 pounds and stood 6’1” tall! The Zoo also shared that this is the eighth calf for mom, Imara, and thirteenth for dad, Billy. Both mom and baby are reportedly bonding well, and the new calf is already learning to run!
An update posted to the Zoo’s site shared, “The breeding of Billy and Imara is based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® for Masai giraffes. Masai giraffes are currently listed as endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, so the birth of this newest calf is especially important.” This new addition brings the Giraffe herd to 6! Congratulations to the Norfolk Zoo team, and to mom Imara!
Photos Courtesy of the Norfolk Zoo Website.
This year we wanted to celebrate the incredible staff that keeps The Decker Law Firm running. Without our team’s focus and hard work, our attorneys would not be able to help nearly as many people as we do. Whether you have been here for 1 year, or for 40, we consider ourselves so lucky to have you!
- Kara Downey, 2/2/15, 6-year anniversary
- Paul Miller, 2/13/17, 4-year anniversary
- Heather Weise, 2/25/13, 8-year anniversary
Spicy Baked Pasta with Cheddar and Broccoli Rabe
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb. rigatoni, ziti, or fusilli
- 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe or 3 bunches baby broccolini, trimmed, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 oz. sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (about 3 cups), divided
- 1 cup chopped chives, divided
- 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Preheat oven to 425°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking together, until just barely al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
- While you are cooking the pasta, get the broccoli rabe going. Heat 5 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium–high. Add leeks and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened (but not so much that they don’t have any texture left) and starting to brown, 8–10 minutes.
- Add red pepper flakes to leeks and stir to incorporate. Add broccoli rabe by the handful, stirring to combine and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more. Season with salt and black pepper. Once all of the broccoli rabe has been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
- Add pasta to reserved broccoli rabe mixture along with cream, three-quarters of the cheese, ½ cup chives, and reserved pasta cooking liquid; mix well. Season with salt and black pepper and add more red pepper flakes if you prefer more heat (keep in mind that the saltiness and spiciness will increase as the pasta bakes).
- Transfer pasta to a 3-qt. baking dish (or, if your Dutch oven is ovenproof, just leave it in there). Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl until coated; season with salt and black pepper. Scatter over pasta, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake until pasta is bubbling across the entire surface and breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Scatter remaining chives over pasta just before serving.
Meet Lola! She stands at the corner of College Drive and College Place (Freemason Green) in Downtown Norfolk. Lola was created by Wendy Farman & Maury High School, and sponsored by Cosmopolitan Club & Dominion Capital Management.
Lola is also home to page 3 of “The Mermaid’s True Love”, a NorFolktale spread throughout the city!
MacArthur Memorial, 198 Bank Street, Norfolk VA
January 20 – February 1, 2021
“The future and the very existence of the United States is tied up in Asia and its island outposts,” wrote Douglas MacArthur in 1963, citing a lesson from his father, Arthur MacArthur. Both men served in Asia during critical decades in its history, and helped shape events that have left a living legacy today. The Memorial will explore the impact of both men on Asia in its next special exhibit, Legacies: The MacArthurs in the Far East, which will open April 19, 2019, at 10 a.m. and will be on display through early 2021. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
MacArthur Memorial, 198 Bank Street, Norfolk VA
January 20 – August 18, 2021
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. At the age of 12, a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki began making origami cranes. Sadako had been exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and suffered from leukemia. She was determined to make 1,000 paper cranes and then make a wish for a long healthy life. She eventually completed more than 1,000 paper cranes but died on October 25, 1955. Every year, people around the world fold paper cranes to remember Sadako and as a wish for peace. Students from River Road Middle School in Elizabeth City, NC and the 6th Grade U.S. History students at the Academy of Discovery at Lakewood in Norfolk, VA contributed many of the paper cranes on display. Cranes were also folded by dozens of families across Hampton Roads who were participating in distance learning during the Spring 2020 semester.
Chrysler Museum of Art and Perry Glass Studio, 1 Memorial Pl, Norfolk VA
January 23 – February 14, 2021
10:00 AM to 5PM
Create a colorful sculpted glass heirloom with the help of our Studio Team. Choose from an array of color options to make your heart unique. With the instructor’s help, apply colorful crushed glass to molten clear glass. You will mix the colored glass in to create a uniquely colored heart-shaped paperweight. Participants and instructors must wear a mask throughout the entire process, and hand sanitizer is provided. Glass objects must cool slowly in a kiln and will be available on a later date. We will contact you when your art is ready for pick-up or shipment.