Settling A Dram Shop Case Requires An Experienced Attorney Looking Out For Your Best Interests
Negotiating for a settlement in a dram shop case is largely advantageous for both sides, assuming the defendant is willing to be fair. Don't get us wrong: we certainly aren't afraid to take Dram Shop cases to court, but we ultimately want to get you the most compensation possible in a timely fashion, so that you can move on with your life instead of waiting for your suit to be resolved. Reaching a fair settlement allows for that to happen. Doing so does come with some caveats however.
For example, say you were injured by a drunk driver that was over-served at the local Chili's. You decide that you're going to sue the driver for the injuries that his negligence caused, and you're going to go after Chili's because they served an obviously intoxicated person who went on to cause a wreck as a result. Further, let's say that your injuries resulted in $100,000 worth of hospital bills, $10,000 in lost wages, and $10,000 in pain & suffering damages. Your attorneys negotiate with Chili's and reach a $200,000 settlement for your case to go away. Sounds pretty fair, right? However, once you sign the settlement paperwork, usually you agree to not bring that same matter to the jury trial stage. You've contractually agreed to not sue for any further damages beyond what was agreed upon in the settlement.
Now, 3 months later, you've been diagnosed with a chronic back issue that requires expensive medication and treatment that may last the rest of your life, but, because you hired an inexperienced attorney to guide you through the litigation process, you're left with the bills. Remember, you cannot file a case against Chili's again once you've reached a settlement. This is why hiring an experienced attorney that will not only look for compensation for injuries immediately apparent after the accident, but also seek compensation for future treatment and medication for your injuries.
In this article, attorney Michael Grossman will explain how the settlement negotiation process works in a Texas Dram Shop case.
Questions answered in this article:
- If I settle my case, can I sue the establishment again later?
- After settling my case, can I tell my friends, coworkers, or news outlets about how I sustained my injuries and/or how much money I received?
- What amount of money constitutes a fair settlement?
- What's the best thing I can do to ensure I receive a settlement that fairly represents my injuries?
If I settle my case, can I sue the establishment later?
Probably not. Most defendants, good attorneys, and virtually every insurance company would never sign or allow their client to sign a settlement agreement without obtaining an agreement from the victim that they won't file a lawsuit at a later time. Think about it - the whole point of a settlement for them is resolving the matter without any further cost or responsibility; they definitely don't want to expose themselves to liability more than once. Thus, it's important that any settlement you agree to fairly compensates you for the injuries you've suffered, as it will likely be the only opportunity you'll have to recover any compensation for them.
Can I tell my friends, coworkers, or news outlets about how I sustained my injuries?
Usually not. In virtually all Dram Shop cases, but especially those involving a large amount of damages like most wrongful death cases, a settlement will only be reached once the injury victim agrees to not disclose certain facts regarding the cause of their injuries and the results of their settlement. Notably, the option of confidentiality isn't available in a traditional lawsuit.
What amount of money constitutes a fair settlement for my injuries?
Unfortunately, there's often not an obvious answer. The amount of compensation for a particular victim's injuries truly depends on the facts of their case. Although there are literally hundreds of factors that can affect the value of a victim's injuries for purposes of a civil suit, we've listed a few of them below to demonstrate the expertise needed to determine if a settlement is really "fair."
- What level of medical attention will the injury victim require in the future (including hospital visits, treatments, and therapy)?
- Will the victim ever be able to return to work again? If so, at the same position and with the same level of skill?;
- What medical expenses has the victim incurred thus far?
- Has the victim suffered any negative emotional effects from their injuries, including depression or anxiety?;
- Is the victim suffering reduced mobility?
- Has the victim suffered any brain damage or reduced mental capacity?
- Has the victim experienced a reduced enjoyment of life, including the lost ability to share love and affection with a spouse?
- Was the defendant grossly negligent?
What's the best thing I can do to ensure I receive a settlement that fairly compensates me for my injuries?
Without a doubt, the best thing you can do to ensure you receive a fair settlement in your Dram Shop case is to retain an aggressive and experienced dram shop lawyer. Only the most experienced Dram Shop attorneys, like ours at Grossman Law Offices, have developed the skill necessary to not only know what constitutes a fair settlement, but also how to bring enough evidence to the table that defendants negotiate fairly.
For more information regarding settling your Dram Shop injury case and for a free and confidential consultation based on the circumstances leading to your injuries, give us a call any time, day or night, at (855) 326-0000.
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