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If you've agreed to a settlement in your injury case, you may be wondering what happens if the other side doesn't live up to their end of the bargain. So how do you enforce a settlement agreement?
As it turns out, just expecting the other party to hold up their side of the deal might not be enough, and even requesting compliance in writing may not mean you'll get paid. So here are a couple considerations when it comes time to enforce a settlement agreement.
If You Reached a Settlement out of Court
Most settlements occur "out of court", mainly because the parties are hoping to avoid the costs and risks of trial. Unfortunately, if the other party isn't obeying the settlement agreement, you may have to go to court after all.
If a defendant signed a settlement agreement and agreed to pay your medical expenses, they are required to do so by the terms of the agreement. If they do not, a judge can enforce the settlement agreement by entering a judgment against the defendant, ordering them to pay the agreed upon amounts.
If the defendant ignores the court order, they could face further fines, property seizure, or even jail if they're found in contempt of a court order.
If You Reached a Settlement in Court
You may have been party to a court-ordered settlement, or a settlement resulting from arbitration, mediation, or some other form of alternative dispute resolution. If so, your agreement may already include an order signed by a judge.
If this is the case, you may be one step closer to having your settlement paid. The order may have provisions for noncompliance, and you may need to alert the court or the judge that the defendant is not abiding by the order.
Injury settlements, from negotiation to enforcement, can be complicated procedures. An experienced injury attorney can be your best resource for information and advocacy.