The majority of personal injury cases settle out of court with an agreement between both parties and never go to trial. If you have been injured and have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A recent personal injury case involving the Georgia-based gunmaker Glock and an Arkansas police officer settled out of court after the officer sued the company under personal injury laws in federal court. The judge dismissed the case once the parties settled.
This case began in June of 2013 when the police officer reportedly shot himself in the foot without even pulling the trigger. The lawsuit was based on a theory that the pistol was unsafe in its design because of the potential to misfire without such safety measures as a safety or an un-cocking device. Whether these arguments would have won the day in court remains to be seen because both sides negotiated a settlement, and a judge or jury did not provide a judgement.
The details of the settlement will not be released to the public, under the orders of the judge who oversaw the case. Under the terms of the settlement and dismissal of the case, neither side can disclose what happened in settlement negotiations or for how much the case settled. This is quite common in cases involving large companies. If you have questions about your own potential personal injury settlement, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer today.
Purpose of Protective Orders
The mechanism used by the parties and judge in this case to seal information about the settlement is known in the law as a protective order. Protective orders are a judicial mandate coming from the court ordering a person, company, or group to refrain from doing something in order to protect privacy, property, or other things important to parties of a suit. As we saw from this case, such an order prevents details about things like settlements from getting to the public.
The usefulness of a protective order is obvious. Corporations do not want the public to know whether and for what amount of money a suit settled. In this way they can prevent other lawsuits from springing up once people learn that a lot of money can be had for (as an example) a misfired pistol.
Protective orders can also work to protect the plaintiff in a case. If a case goes to trial and a judgment is entered, it becomes part of the public record. This means that the press, friends, family, and neighbors can all find out how much a case was worth, and what that means to the plaintiff who won. It is easy to understand why those kinds of details would best be left unknown, but sometimes it cannot be avoided.
Contact an Personal Injury Attorney Serving Atlanta Today
It is hard to know what to do when you have the offer of a settlement in one hand and the opportunity to take a case to trial in the other. This question can best be answered with the good legal advice of an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta. That is exactly what you can expect from us at The Angell Law Firm. Our team of dedicated professionals will help you understand what your options are, no matter the accident, death, or other personal injury issue you are facing. Contact us today.
(image courtesy of Jens Lelie)