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How to obtain a favorable settlement

Pennsylvania residents make compromises with one another on a daily basis. Whether it is deciding what to eat for lunch with a family member or friend, or making a deal in the office, individuals often use their negotiating skills to obtain a common goal.

These skills are used in litigation as well. As mentioned in a previous post, while litigation can be contentious and highly disputed, many cases are ultimately settled by the parties well in advance of trial.

There are different means of settling cases. For example, the parties may have their attorneys trade communication, with offers and counteroffers for a settlement agreement. In other cases, mediation may be a better option, where a mediator facilitates settlement discussions between the parties over the course of several hours, or even days.

No matter what particular method is used, individuals should have a solid strategy in mind to obtain a favorable settlement. This begins with knowing what objectives the person has, which often goes far beyond the simple fact of how much compensation the party is willing to accept after being injured in a car accident.

Once the objectives are known, individuals can use the facts and the applicable law to create leverage for a beneficial settlement. For example, if a certain piece of evidence will be important in the case and favors the injured person, that evidence can be emphasized and leveraged to get the other side to come to the negotiation table and accept better terms. Ultimately, a successful settlement involves outlining the person's goals, having a solid grasp of the facts and the law and forcefully advocating one's position to the other party.

Source: American Bar Association, "Winning the settlement: Keys to negotiation strategy," accessed on Aug. 2, 2015

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