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The Settlement Transaction

Last week I wrote about the basics of settlement negotiation. This week I'd like to talk about the transaction itself. What do you get when you settle a case and what do you give in exchange?

The most common thing you get is money. Money is meant to compensate you for your damages: medical charges, wage loss, pain and suffering and property damage. But money need not be the only thing you get. Settlements are flexible and there is no set rules as to what you can ask for. If you want a written apology, you can ask for it. A colleague who settled a truck accident case arising out of bad breaks on a truck recently got an agreement from the trucking company to change their policy on how often they check the breaks on their trucks. Money need not be the only thing you get when you settle a case.

Generally, what you give in exchange is a settlement release. The release is a written agreement that you sign that contains any number of provisions. Most typical are an agreement to drop your claim or lawsuit, to not sue the other party or their insurer, and that you agree to take care of any unpaid bills. Sometimes the other party will request a confidentiality clause in the release. As with what you get in a settlement, what you give, or the terms of the release, are also negotiable.

If you have any questions regarding settlement, or if you have recently suffered an injury, please feel free to contact me at any time. As an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney, I have represented many clients in a wide variety of injury and accident cases.