Getting a Recovery for Your Personal Injuries; Do I Need the Judge’s Approval?


A client has asked:

I heard that the judge presiding over the World Trade cases involving injured volunteers and workers has refused to approve a proposed settlement.  I read that the settlement was recommended by both plaintiffs’ and defense counsel.

In my accident case if we reach a  settlement, mus it be approved by the judge?

The answer is no.  A judge does not have to approve an accident case settlement made by an adult.

The exception is where the client is either an infant, incompetent person, or the estate of a dead client.  In those situations, the court has to make sure that the settlement is in the best interests of the client.  See our prior posts discussing the settlement of a child’s case.   See parts I, II, III, and IV.  Another exception is a class action lawsuit.

In many instances the judge will handle negotiations in your case.  However, the judge does not have to approve the settlement.  If the case on trial, the court will want the client to agree to the settlement on the record in open court.  However, in no way is this an opportunity for the judge to approve or disapprove the settlement.

If you have been involved in an accident, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation at either 800-591-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 4/17/10, www.seitelman.com.

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