April 23, 2015 • Legal Terminology
If you settle your case in open court, why does the judge want to know whether you are doing this under your own volition?
Settling in Open Court
When you settle your personal injury case in court, it means in open court where anybody can come and go, and you have put your settlement on the record. Furthermore, the judge and your attorney will be asking you questions about your actual settlement.
One of the questions will be whether you are settling this case of your own free will. In other words, is someone forcing you to settle your case? Are you under any duress whatsoever? These questions are asked because the judge wants to know, and wants to make sure that nobody is forcing you to settle, and that you are doing it freely and voluntarily. This is a critical component of agreeing to settle in open court.
Once You Settle, Your Case is Over
The judge also wants the injured victims to realize that this is it, and once the case is settled they can never come back to court ever for this same case. This is critical for you to understand, since once you agree to a settlement, you cannot reopen this case for whatever reasons. Your case will be over and you can no longer argue about anything.
However, if someone is forcing you settle your case it will have many repercussions. The judge will immediately disallow such a settlement, which means your case can still go on. Secondly, it is illegal to coerce somebody to settle, which means the judge might order an inquiry to find out whether you were indeed being coerced. This will not only lengthen your personal injury case but you might have to deal with a separate criminal case involving the person who has forced you to settle.
Therefore, when you have filed a personal injury case, make sure your lawyer handles all the negotiations. You also need to be present while the negotiations are going on to keep track of what is happening. When you have suffered significant losses and injuries, your claim will be a sizeable amount.
Notify Your Attorney
If you have a strong case, the defense might first want you to settle for a lesser amount and when you refuse, there is a possibility of someone forcing you to settle since there is lot at stake. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should immediately tell your lawyer since he can advise you on various legal options to counter this threat.
If someone forcing you to settle your personal injury case, then he or she can use different methods to coerce you. You might be physically threatened or you might be blackmailed. The defendant can resort to different tactics to intimidate you. If you feel that the defense is trying to force you into a settlement, you must immediately report the matter to your lawyer or the court.