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Starting the process of litigation by filing a claim can be confusing and overwhelming. If you don’t understand the process, the confusion only increases as the case progresses. It can be challenging to decide if settling your case or taking it to trial is the right next step. Fully understanding the terms and processes for settlements and claims will allow you to make decisions that are best for your case and will ultimately instill your confidence in the legal process.

At Barfoot and Schoettker, we believe in loyalty and honesty. We know that our line of work can be difficult to follow. This is why we make it a point to communicate with our clients every step of the way. We care about our clients and want them to be educated on their case which is why we have provided a guide to settlements and claims.

Claims

Claims are the first step in any legal process. A claim is essentially a declaration that someone has wronged you in some way or owes you some form of property. The person who files a claim is referred to as a claimant. If the claim turns into a lawsuit, the claimant is then referred to as the plaintiff, and the person that the claim is filed against is referred to as the defendant.

There are many types of claims that can be filed. Legal claims are the most common types of claims that are filed. These types of claims, which are also known as personal injury cases, demonstrate how the defendant has caused the claimant to suffer a loss or an injury of some kind due to negligence. Each type of personal injury case has its own specific process for claims and settlements. The damages that the claimant hopes to receive in these cases are expected to make up for the loss that was suffered. Equitable claims are seeking an injunction that will prevent a future injury that would be caused by the defendant from occurring. The desired outcome of this type of claim is known as equitable relief.

The claimant files a claim by submitting a case to an insurance company. The claim is filed through a statement of claim that expresses what the claimant’s case is and what evidence they are using to support the claim. The amount of detail you should provide in the evidence is up for debate, but it is best to put enough facts for the judge and the defendant to clearly understand the case. The evidence that is included in the case is crucial to the success of the claim. A claim will not be approved if the evidence is not substantial enough. Claims can also be submitted by directly filing a lawsuit against the defendant. After a claim is submitted, the defendant is required to respond to the claim typically within 30 days.

Settlements

The word settlement in Latin means “to be unwilling to pursue.” A settlement is essentially the act of settling a dispute without a trial. The best time to settle a lawsuit is before it goes to court. However, the lawyers are constantly communicating with each other and the judge throughout the process of litigation and can decide later on if settling is the best option based on the strength of their case.

A lawsuit can be settled for many reasons, but the most common reason is cost. Going through a full trial with a case is not only an expensive and lengthy process, but it is also emotionally draining. Before a case goes to trial, the parties participate in a process of discovery where each party presents their evidence for the case. Discovery allows the parties to gain information from each other that can be embarrassing or harmful to their relationship. Secrets are often exposed during discovery that can publically damage a person’s reputation which is often a contributing factor to why many cases are settled before they go to trial.

During the process of a settlement, the plaintiff and the defendant negotiate a deal that will resolve the issue at hand. The plaintiff is usually seeking some form of payment from the defendant to compensate for the loss that they have endured. Each party must decide whether to offer, accept, or decline a settlement. Once a settlement is decided, a contract is put in place to ensure the parties complete their part of the settlement agreement.

How we can help

Our experts at Barfoot and Schoettker are experienced in a variety of cases and are willing to help you with any of your legal needs. We want to be a legal partner that you can trust. We promise to be aggressive in the courtroom and fight to help your voice be heard. We know that the process of litigation can be long and stressful, but we are here to help you through it. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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