Power of attorney is a tool that confers significant authority on a person to act on behalf of another. It should only be used in well-thought-out situations and only with a trustworthy individual.  

Because a person with power of attorney can make binding, life-changing decisions for someone else, you should always consult with an experienced attorney before signing any documents. 

What Is the Purpose of Power of Attorney? 

Power of attorney in Illinois allows a person, known as the principal, to authorize someone else to make previously specified financial and medical decisions for them in the case of incapacitation or unavailability. It is similar to a guardianship.  

However, the difference is that powers of attorney are created and executed by the principal when they are competent. A guardianship may be appointed without the consent of the principal when incapacitated.  

Durable Power of Attorney 

A durable power of attorney authorizes a person to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf before and after you are incapacitated or legally incompetent. A non-durable power of attorney, on the other hand, becomes ineffective in the event of your incapacitation or incompetence.  

With a durable power of attorney, you can ensure that your affairs will be managed in a certain way in the event you are incapacitated. As long as you choose a trusted and competent individual, you will be protected according to your wishes.  

Springing Power of Attorney 

As its name suggests, a springing power of attorney springs into effect upon your incapacitation. Once you are considered legally incompetent to make the decisions detailed in your power of attorney documents, the power of attorney will come into effect.  

The main difference between a springing and a durable power of attorney is that a springing power of attorney is not in effect when you are of sound legal mind.  

General Power of Attorney 

A general power of attorney gives broad financial real estate decision-making powers and is non-durable. It is revoked when the principal becomes incapacitated. It may also be revoked through the creation of a new general power of attorney and the filing of a revocation form.  

Medical Power of Attorney  

A medical power of attorney in Illinois comes into effect when a person becomes incapacitated. It grants healthcare decision-making powers and is often used in conjunction with other documents, such as do-not-resuscitate (DNR) documents and living wills.  

How to Get Power of Attorney in Illinois 

The decision to execute a power of attorney should not be taken lightly. Before doing so, it is important to understand the ramifications of powers of attorney. Meeting with an experienced lawyer is strongly recommended. 

An attorney will first listen to your needs and desires and review the facts of your situation. The guidance they provide will help you choose which type of power of attorney is the most appropriate for your circumstances.  

Steps in Getting a Power of Attorney 

The first step to getting power of attorney in Illinois is to choose an agent. The person you choose to be your agent must be: 

  • At least 18 years old 
  • Legally capable of making their own decision 
  • Trustworthy 
  • Intellectually competent to handle your issues 

They should also be logistically capable of handling your decisions. For example, a friend who lives across the country and never gets time off may not be the right choice as a medical power of attorney agent.  

The next step is to determine the scope of the power of attorney. How much decision-making power do you want to confer upon your agent? You have the choice to make the authority as broad or as limited as you like, generally speaking.  

For example, if you have executed a power of attorney for property, you can specify the exact real estate transactions the agent may attend to. You may also provide guidelines for any decisions they might make. Alternatively, you may grant them broad discretion over all of your real estate decisions. 

Once you have decided on the type and scope of power of attorney you desire, the next step is to draft the agreement onto statutory forms. Your attorney will help you craft a document that meets your needs and protects your interests. 

Need Assistance? We’re Ready to Help 

The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC can provide the guidance and representation you need in power of attorney issues. Give us a call to speak with our team, learn about your options, and discover how we can help you accomplish your goals. Contact us today! 

Two cyclists riding down a paved path next to automobile traffic.

Bicycling continues to be a popular form of travel and recreation for Americans. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics recently reported an over 600 percent increase in spending on bicycles and accessories from March 2020 to March 2023. It is the third most popular outdoor activity in the United States, according to Statista.

States across the country have taken notice of bicycling’s popularity. In recent years, some states have passed various laws to make bicycling safer for cyclists and motorists. These laws’ effectiveness depends on those who use the road knowing and following the requirements of these laws.

Safe Passing Laws

The majority of states have enacted some form of a Safe Passing Law designed to protect bicyclists. These laws create a minimum safe distance that cars and trucks must give to bicyclists when they overtake them on the road. This common maneuver can be dangerous for bicyclists if the motorist does not leave enough space between their vehicle and the bicyclist.

These laws vary in the number of feet a passing motorist must give the bicyclist. For example, Illinois follows the Model Safe Passing Law by requiring motorists to give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when overtaking them. Neighboring Indiana’s safe passing law also requires a minimum three-foot clearance.

However, other states have different requirements. New Jersey, for example, mandates that motorists give bicyclists at least four feet of distance when passing them. Nearby Missouri’s law simply states that motorists are to give bicyclists a “safe distance” when passing without defining what this term means.

Mandatory Helmet Laws

Bicyclists can reduce the chance of severe head and brain injuries in the event of a wreck by wearing a properly fitted helmet while riding. The majority of states and hundreds of cities require some or all bicyclists to wear helmets, and some of these laws allow a non-compliant bicyclist to be fined for violating them.

For example, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri have laws requiring riders of all ages to wear helmets when bicycling. However, Indiana and twelve other states still have not passed any helmet law that mandates riders of any age to wear helmets.

Other states, like California and Alabama, only require young riders under a certain age to wear helmets.

Stop-as-Yield Laws for Bicyclists

A few states have enacted “Stop-As-Yield” laws allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. These laws allow bicyclists to pass through dangerous intersections when it is safe to do so instead of having bicyclists come to a complete stop. Allowing for this type of movement keeps bicyclists from coming into close proximity with motorists.

Idaho was the first state to enact this type of law in 1982. Since then, only seven other states have passed such laws as of March 2022. Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Utah became the three most recent states to enact stop-as-yield laws when they passed their respective measures in 2021.

Bicycling Under the Influence

While bicycles are different from motor vehicles in several significant ways, they are both dangerous to operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a result, some states and localities penalize bicyclists who are riding their electric or self-propelled bicycles while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

Illinois does not define a bicycle as a “vehicle” for purposes of its DUI statute, and there is no separate law in the Land of Lincoln criminalizing riding under the influence. However, Georgia does criminalize this practice statewide. Although no state law in Kansas prohibits biking under the influence, local ordinances in Wichita criminalize it.

Whether it is explicitly prohibited or not, it is not advised to attempt to ride a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if you are reasonably careful, such substances can impair your ability to see and avoid reckless motorists nearby.

Turn to an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer if You Have Been Injured

Laws like Safe Passing Laws and Stop-As-Yield laws may be passed with the best of intentions, but their effectiveness ultimately rests on motorists and bicyclists who must follow them. Drivers of cars and trucks who ignore or are ignorant of these laws can cause great harm to you or a loved one if you are on a bicycle.

Along with severe harm comes significant financial and emotional costs. You and your family deserve compensation for these losses when they result from a motorist’s carelessness.

Turn to your Central Illinois personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC for help, and let us assist you in getting the financial damages you deserve.

A construction worker in an orange hat pouring cement.

Construction sites are dangerous areas where accidents may be likely to occur. Whether your accident is the result of a slip and fall or the use of a defective product, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses with the help of a construction accident lawyer.

After a construction accident, it’s best to consult with a skilled lawyer right away. They can begin working on your claim and help get you on the path toward benefits and monetary recovery.

They Can Explain Your Rights and Options

Construction accident cases can be tricky to handle. It’s common to feel lost, overwhelmed, and fearful for the future.

Accident lawyers know the ins and outs of construction accidents. They’re well-versed in the laws and procedures associated with these types of cases, making them valuable allies.

Your construction accident attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options, as you may have several. They’ll create a personalized approach to your case and work diligently to handle your claim as timely and efficiently as possible.

They Can Give You the Dos and Don’ts of Construction Accident Claims

Along with giving you information concerning your rights and options, lawyers can help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do after an accident.

What you do after a construction accident can have a substantial impact on your ability to recover benefits and compensation. For this reason, lawyers are available to guide you and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do in relation to your case.

They Can Assist You With Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

When your construction accident happens at work, you may have the opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp is a special type of insurance employers are required to have for the protection of their employees in the event of an accident.

Under workers’ compensation, you may be eligible to receive various benefits, like wage replacement and covered medical care. To receive these benefits, you must file a workers’ comp claim soon after your accident.

Workers’ compensation claims can be difficult to navigate, but a knowledgeable lawyer can assist you throughout the process.

They Can Determine Whether You Have the Right to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you receive accident benefits through workers’ compensation, you’re not allowed to pursue additional compensation through a civil lawsuit against your employer. However, the same cannot be said for third parties.

If a third party plays a role in your accident and subsequent injuries, like a contractor or sub-contractor, you might be able to recover compensation from this party by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

A construction accident lawyer can review the details of your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and definitively determine whether you have a viable case. If you do, they can assist with filing the lawsuit and representing you.

They Can Handle Negotiations on Your Behalf

Whether it’s the workers’ compensation insurance company or a third party, you may need to engage in settlement negotiations at some point during the process. Negotiations can be stressful, and your benefits and compensation ride on the outcome.

Construction accident attorneys are skilled in the art of negotiation. They can represent your best interests throughout the back and forth and help you fight for the best possible outcome.

They Can Represent You During Proceedings

Should you need to file an appeal after receiving the insurance company’s decision or go to court for your case, your accident attorney will be right there with you. Lawyers represent clients in hearings and court proceedings day in and day out, so they don’t shy away from the challenge.

A Compassionate Lawyer Can Provide Support and Guidance Throughout Your Case

Along with assisting you through the legal part of your case, lawyers who have experience with construction accident cases can also provide the support and guidance you need during a challenging time.

No one understands your situation better than an accident attorney. During the rough times, you can count on your lawyer for answers and reassurance, giving you the peace of mind you need.

Consult With a Skilled Attorney Today

After a construction accident, don’t wait to speak with a lawyer. Time is limited to file workers’ compensation claims and lawsuits, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to pursue fair compensation.

The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC offer clients two convenient locations in Nokomis, IL, and Litchfield, IL. When you’re ready to discuss your case, contact our firm to schedule your consultation with a construction accident lawyer.

 

 

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. During such a difficult time, families often entrust funeral homes to handle their loved one’s remains with the utmost care and respect. Unfortunately, not all funeral homes live up to these expectations, and instances of funeral home negligence are becoming increasingly common.

In light of the suspected negligence taking place at Heinz Funeral Home, the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC, are here to help. If you believe that the remains of your loved one have been mishandled by Heinz Funeral Home, contact our experienced attorneys right away to get the help you deserve.

To keep you well-informed, this article will outline what constitutes funeral home negligence, what legal recourse families have, and what someone should do if they suspect the remains of their loved ones have been mishandled.

What is funeral home negligence?

Funeral home negligence refers to any act, omission, or breach of duty by a funeral home or its staff that results in harm to a family. This harm can be physical, emotional, or financial and can include:

  • Mishandling remains
  • Cremating the wrong body
  • Improperly embalming a body
  • Losing remains
  • Stealing personal property on the body
  • Illegally harvesting organs or tissue
  • Dropping a body in transit
  • Failing to obtain necessary permits
  • Providing inadequate services
  • Overcharging for services

Funeral home negligence can occur at any stage of the funeral procession, from the point of preparation, to transportation of the remains, to the funeral service, and burial.

What legal recourse do families have?

Families who have been impacted by funeral home negligence can seek legal recourse. Depending on the circumstances, families may be able to file a lawsuit for damages caused by the funeral home’s negligence. These damages can include:

  • compensatory damages, such as the cost of the cremation
  • punitive damages to punish the funeral home for its wrongdoing, such as damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress

Families can also file complaints against the funeral home with state regulatory agencies, such as the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

What should someone do if they suspect funeral home negligence?

If someone suspects that their loved one’s remains have been mishandled, they should immediately contact a funeral home negligence attorney. An attorney can help the family determine whether there is evidence of negligence, and if so, what legal options are available. With an attorney’s help, the family can also seek the advice of a licensed funeral director to determine if the services provided were in accordance with state and federal regulations. Families should also file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to ensure that the funeral home is held accountable for any wrongdoing.

How can families prevent funeral home negligence?

While families cannot always prevent funeral home negligence from occurring, they can take steps to reduce the risk. Before selecting a funeral home, families should research the provider’s reputation, get recommendations from friends and family, and check the funeral home’s licensing and regulatory history. Families should also request an itemized price list to avoid unexpected costs and fees. During the funeral process, families should closely monitor the services and transportation of their loved one’s remains and report any concerns or mishandling immediately.

Unfortunately, even when families take preventative measures, the funeral home may still be negligent. In those cases, you should have legal representation prepared to fight for your peace.

Contact The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC today

Funeral home negligence can have lasting effects on families who have already experienced great loss. If you suspect that your loved one’s remains have been mishandled, contact our experienced attorneys right away to ensure that you receive the justice and closure you deserve.

We’ll fight for the peace Heinz Funeral Home promised.

Guardianship can be a confusing topic for many, but when you have a loved one in need, establishing a guardianship may be the best option. An experienced attorney can assist with obtaining guardianship and guardianship administration in Illinois.

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship gives an appointed guardian the legal right to make decisions for a person. Guardianship is available for people of all ages, depending on the circumstances.

This legal designation is often sought for minors, the elderly, and those who become incapacitated, as these individuals either cannot make their own decisions or have lost the ability to do so.

There are various types of guardianships you can establish based on the needs of the ward, which is the person whom the guardianship is set up to protect. A guardianship attorney can provide direction and assist you with the guardianship process.

Temporary Guardianship

Temporary guardianships are often established in emergency situations or in anticipation of emergencies. These guardianships only last a maximum of 60 days. Should a more permanent guardianship be necessary, judges can then establish a more permanent guardianship.

Limited Guardianship

In a limited guardianship situation, the ward is typically able to make some decisions and just needs assistance with others. Therefore, a limited guardianship gives a guardian limited powers over the ward. Instead of allowing a guardian to make all decisions, the court enumerates the specific needs the guardian should address.

Guardian of the Person

A guardian of the person must oversee everything having to do with the ward themselves, including personal care, healthcare, and education. This type of guardianship is not related to the ward’s finances.

Guardian of the Estate

Guardianship of the estate, on the other hand, has everything to do with the ward’s finances. The guardian is responsible for managing bank accounts, property, and assets, among other financial matters.

Plenary Guardianship

A plenary guardianship is a total guardianship. The plenary guardian has power over both the ward’s personal affairs and their finances. Plenary guardianship can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the ward’s needs.

Establishing a Guardianship

Becoming a guardian is a substantial undertaking. As a guardian, you are responsible for another person’s care, finances, and well-being, which is why courts take appointments seriously.

Establishing a guardianship begins by completing and filing a petition with the court. The petition should include all pertinent details, including the proposed guardian’s information, the ward’s information, and details concerning the ward’s need for a guardian.

During the scheduled court hearing, you’ll have the opportunity to present your case and evidence showing why it is necessary for the ward to have a guardian and how guardianship would be in their best interests. Once the court has reviewed testimony and evidence, they can render their decision.

Even if you’re granted guardianship over the ward, the process does not end there. Guardianship requires submitting periodic court filings and attending court dates to help ensure the ward’s continued care.

Guardian Administration in Illinois — How an Attorney Can Assist

Depending on the type of guardianship you’ve established, you’ll need to provide the court with occasional filings. Courts require these routine check-ins to ensure the guardian is handling their responsibility well, the ward is well taken care of, and the guardianship remains in the ward’s best interests.

Guardianship Administration in Illinois can be stressful, time-consuming, and tedious. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do, but fortunately, a guardianship attorney can provide the guidance you need.

A guardianship lawyer can assist with all of the following:

  • Annual Report: A lawyer can help create the annual report to notify the court of the ward’s care and well-being.
  • Annual Accounting: An attorney can assist with the creation of the annual accounting, detailing the ward’s finances, including income and expenses.
  • Inventory: A lawyer can help produce the inventory detailing the ward’s property and assets.
  • Court Appearances: An attorney can provide representation during scheduled court appearances throughout the guardianship.

A guardianship attorney can be a valuable ally, helping you navigate your guardianship rights and responsibilities. Having a lawyer assist you can give you some much-needed peace of mind.

Speak to a Guardianship Attorney Today

Guardianship administration in Illinois can be challenging, but you don’t have to handle your responsibilities alone. The guardianship lawyers at The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC are ready to help you and ensure the success of your guardianship. Our firm offers two convenient locations in Nokomis, IL, and Litchfield, IL. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

When you’re injured or your motorcycle is damaged in an accident caused by another party, you may be entitled to compensation in Illinois. But how do you obtain that compensation?

Filing an insurance claim is usually the right place to start your journey toward financial recovery. A motorcycle accident attorney at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC can help you with filing your claim and ensuring you receive the result you deserve.

Two Types of Insurance Claims for Motorcycle Collisions

When you’re involved in a collision, there are generally two types of claims, depending on your situation: personal injury claims and property damage claims.

A personal injury claim helps recover compensation for injuries and related losses you sustained due to your accident. On the other hand, a property damage claim can help you recover financially from damage to your motorcycle.

Based on the specifics of your case, you may file a claim for one or the other, or even both. If you aim to seek compensation from another driver’s insurance company, it’s important to create a connection between the driver’s wrongdoing and your injuries and/or damage.

Preparing to File Your Insurance Claim

Before filing your collision claim, preparation is key. One of the best ways to prepare for filing an insurance claim is to collect relevant information and evidence.

If possible, try to collect evidence soon after your collision. Some of the best evidence for motorcycle accidents includes:

  • Photos and videos showing your motorcycle, the other vehicle involved, your helmet, and your injuries
  • The other driver’s contact and insurance information
  • Witness contact information
  • Medical records and bills

You or your attorney can obtain additional evidence as it becomes available, including police reports and traffic camera footage.

One of the most critical parts of an insurance claim is proving the other party’s fault. By using pertinent evidence, you can strengthen your claim and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Fault or No-Fault: How Does Illinois Handle Collision Claims?

When dealing with collision claims, it’s essential to determine whether your state follows no-fault or fault rules.

In a no-fault state, no one is to blame immediately after a collision. Instead, you must carry personal injury protection insurance and file a claim under your own insurance policy for compensation. Then, if it is later proven the other driver was at-fault, your insurance company can pursue reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

In a fault state, the person at fault for an accident is financially responsible to the victim for their harm and property damage. Instead of filing a claim with your own insurance company, you’d file a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance for compensation.

Illinois is a fault state. Therefore, in a collision caused by another party, you can pursue financial recovery from that party’s insurer.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claim

Regardless of whether you intend to file a third-party collision claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, you still need to notify your own insurance company. Insurers want to know when their insured vehicles are damaged or involved in collisions. As soon as possible after your crash, contact your insurance company to put them on notice.

To initiate the claims process with the other driver’s insurer, your attorney can contact them directly. The insurer will ask questions regarding your collision and assign an insurance adjuster to your claim. The adjuster is responsible for investigating your collision to determine how much your claim is worth.

Once the insurance company’s investigation has concluded, they can render their decision. They may offer you a settlement, or deny your claim. Regardless of the outcome, you shouldn’t proceed without first discussing it with a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer.

What if the Responsible Driver Is Uninsured?

If the at-fault driver is uninsured, this does not automatically mean you won’t receive any compensation for your injuries and losses.

If your insurance policy has uninsured motorist coverage, you can make a claim under your own policy. This type of insurance coverage exists to protect you in case you’re involved in a collision with an uninsured driver.

Should your insurance policy not feature uninsured motorist coverage, however, you may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit against the driver. It’s best to speak with a skilled attorney regarding your options.

The Importance of Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

When you suffer harm or your property is damaged in a motorcycle collision, it’s vital to seek guidance from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

While some insurance claims are simple and straightforward, many are not. Additionally, insurance companies have a reputation for being difficult to work with and taking advantage of unrepresented parties. A lawyer can help ensure the claims process goes as smoothly as possible and you obtain the recovery you’re entitled to.

The dedicated attorneys at the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC are highly experienced in helping motorcycle accident victims protect their rights. Our firm offers two convenient locations in Nokomis, IL, and Litchfield, IL.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Semi trucking seen through car side mirror.

The only silly question is the one you decide not to ask, or so the adage goes. But if you are like many truck accident injury victims, you may not know what questions to ask following a collision with a semi-trailer. You may be in such a state of shock that you legitimately expect others to tell you all the information you need.

Failing to ask the right questions of your attorney after a truck crash not only deprives you of important information. It can also prevent you from making fully informed decisions that affect the resolution of your case and the amount of compensation you might receive.

Ask Your Attorney These Four Questions About Your Truck Crash Case

An experienced trucking accident lawyer can be a wealth of information about the legal system and what you can expect as your case progresses. An attorney who has handled many cases will often be able to provide you with the necessary details and explanations throughout the life of your case. However, you should make sure your attorney answers the following questions:

How Much Compensation Will I Receive?

You should beware of an attorney that will guarantee you a specific dollar amount of compensation. Any case involves too many variables to permit anyone to know precisely how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. However, after reviewing your case, your attorney can give you an informed estimate of what compensation you might reasonably expect.

Having an accurate picture of your case’s worth helps you better evaluate any settlement offers that may be made. You and your attorney can openly and smartly discuss what you would be giving up by settling your case compared to what you might receive by going to trial.

Do I Have a Strong Case?

Along with discussing what compensation you might receive, ask your attorney about your odds of success in recovering compensation. As with the amount of compensation you might receive, no attorney can guarantee you a specific outcome in your case. However, your lawyer can give their impressions of whether you have a substantial truck accident case in light of the available evidence.

If the evidence in your case strongly suggests that the truck driver is at fault, you may want to avoid settling for far less than the losses you sustained. In such a case, it may be worth the risk of proceeding to trial instead of not receiving enough compensation to compensate you fully.

Conversely, if your attorney indicates the evidence is inconclusive, you may reconsider settlement offers that do not entirely compensate you. In this situation, the certainty of some compensation is better than the risk of not receiving anything.

How Can I Help My Case?

Even the most skilled truck accident lawyer will need their client to cooperate with them if the client’s case is to succeed. In any truck accident case, a client may need to:

  • Sign releases so the attorney can obtain medical records
  • Appear and provide testimony at a deposition
  • Assist the attorney in responding to interrogatories
  • Show up in court for pretrial hearings and trial
  • Accept or reject a settlement offer

You should know what your attorney expects of you as your case progresses. Needless frustrations in the attorney-client relationship can be avoided by understanding your role in successfully resolving your case.

Make sure that your attorney knows how to reach you quickly. There may be times as your case moves along that your truck accident lawyer will need to reach you quickly so that they can effectively communicate with you and represent you.

What Fees Do You Charge?

Not every attorney charges an hourly fee. It is becoming more common for truck accident lawyers to take cases on a contingency-fee-basis. This fee structure allows you to retain the attorney’s services without depositing money up front. The attorney recoups their fees by taking a portion of the recovery for you. You do not owe any attorney’s fees if your case is unsuccessful.

Let a Dedicated Attorney Help You with Your Truck Accident Case

At the Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC we are committed to arming our truck accident clients with the information they need to make the right decisions. We partner with our clients, helping them pursue the best possible outcome and receive the compensation they deserve.

If you are in Illinois, visit us at either our Nokomis, IL, or Litchfield, IL office. We look forward to meeting with you during a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

When you have been injured by another person, receiving compensation is the result of either a successful lawsuit or a settlement agreement. While lawsuits may attract more attention and interest, most legal disputes will be resolved through a settlement.

Settlements offer greater predictability, lower fees, and quicker resolutions than lawsuits, which makes them favored by plaintiffs and defendants alike. There is also a higher likelihood that a settlement will be discussed in your own personal injury case.

The defendant in your situation may offer you a specific amount for damages in return for your agreement to drop your lawsuit. The compensation value the defendant offers you — and the amount for which your case will settle — will depend on three key factors.

Settlement Amounts Are Tied to the Facts of Your Case

The three factors that impact your settlement’s value are unique to your case. Suppose that you are injured in a car crash when a negligent driver runs a red light. Even if another person is hurt under similar circumstances at the exact same intersection, the value of compensation the two of you could receive might be dramatically different.

This disparity in outcomes occurs because, despite the similarities, there are distinct circumstances at play in every case. These differences have a greater effect on how much your case is worth than where your accident takes place or how many people are involved. These determinative facts include the following:

1. The Strength of the Evidence Supporting Your Claims

If your case were to go to trial, your success would depend on whether you had witnesses and evidence available to prove the truth of your claims. This includes proving not just who was at fault but also the amount of damages you need to be fully compensated.

The more persuasive this evidence is in your case, the more likely the defendant will be to want to settle your case on favorable terms. You’ll want to have credible witnesses who clearly point to the defendant’s fault and objective medical records that support your claim for damages. With those key pieces of evidence, a defendant will be more eager to avoid a trial and the large potential judgment that might come with it.

Conversely, perhaps there are no witnesses to your accident besides yourself, the available evidence is inconclusive on the issue of fault, or there is room to doubt that you were injured as much as you claim.

In such a situation, you may still receive a settlement offer. However, the amount you are offered may be less than you could expect in a case with clearer evidence.

2. The Extent of Your Physical Injuries

A personal injury accident will often leave you with physical and mental or emotional harm. However, it is easier to assign a value to broken bones and brain trauma than the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder or anxiety. As a result, the more severe your physical injuries, the more compensation you could receive through a settlement.

If you are shaken up but have no physical injuries, it will be more difficult to receive a larger settlement. You will need to produce compelling evidence that your mental injuries have dramatically impacted your quality of life to support a larger settlement award.

3. Your and the Defendant’s Desire to Avoid Trial

A trial represents risk, and each person’s or company’s risk tolerance is different. For the injured plaintiff, going to trial runs the risk that the judge or jury will not rule in their favor or will not award them as much compensation as they believe they deserve.

For defendants, a trial could result in an adverse judgment requiring them to pay significant amounts of compensation to the plaintiff. These charges would be incurred on top of attorney’s fees and other costs incidental to trial that they would bear regardless of the outcome.

If you are more comfortable with taking your case to trial than the defendant, you are in a good position to achieve a larger settlement. However, if your defendant is more comfortable with the risks of trial than you, then you may end up settling your case for a lower amount just to take advantage of the security and finality that a settlement offers.

The Difference an Experienced Attorney Makes in Your Case

Having legal counsel to represent you throughout your personal injury case can also make a difference in the outcome of your lawsuit. The experienced team at The Law Offices of Glenn & West, LLC can help you understand the value of your case and decide on a reasonable settlement amount.

We are also able to vigorously and competently represent your interests at trial if no reasonable settlement can be reached. We are committed to helping you obtain full and fair compensation for all of your losses.