Many people are afraid to file a personal injury case because they fear going to court. Going before a judge, and being grilled by the defense team, can cause great anxiety about filing a case. Thankfully, not every personal injury case ends up in front of a judge. There are many instances where the case can be settled without going through the hassle of a legal battle. To understand the nature of these claims, you must understand the timeline.
The Demand Letter
When you meet with a personal injury attorney, they will give you an idea of what to expect from your case. With years of experience, they know the insurance companies that are easier to work with and the ones that hold out for a long battle. Additionally, the type of injuries that you suffer from has a big influence in these situations. Once you retain an attorney, they will ensure that your medical treatment is completed or you are mended as much as can be expected. The next step is to put together a demand letter. The demand letter will outline the injuries you have suffered, the negligence of the other party, and the amount of compensation that is requested. This letter opens the door and allows the insurance company to communicate with the attorney.
The Insurance Company Weighs Their Stance
Once the insurance company receives the demand letter, they will evaluate their stance in the matter. If there are any loopholes they will try to push the blame back onto you to avoid paying for the injuries. They may try to call you and get a recorded statement that can and will be used against you. Never say things to the company like “I feel fine.” They can turn that around later and say that you were feeling just fine and had no issues and they have it on tape. Always do all dealings through your attorney of record to ensure you are protected. If the case has a large compensation request, then they may be willing to negotiate if they feel they have no defense. Do not underestimate the insurance company and the games they will play to keep from paying anything.
The Art of Negotiations
In most cases, the insurance company will counter your offer with another one. If they feel there is a good chance you will win in court, they will attempt to save themselves the costs of a legal battle. Court costs are quite expensive, especially when you bring in expert witnesses and several legal representatives. They may cut their losses and try to just close the case. There may be a period of back and forth between both parties, and these negotiations can go on for some time. If there is no way to come to an agreement, then a motion will be filed in court. The motion will name you as the plaintiff against the other party and their insurance company.
What Happens After A Case Is Filled In Court?
After a case has been filed in court, many things can happen. First, the other party will ask for discovery. Depositions are commonplace in cases that are requesting high dollar compensation packages. Thankfully, just because you file a case in court does not mean that you will have to go to court. At any point during the trial, the insurance company can continue the negotiations. They may offer another amount before the trial. Commonly, if the insurance company feels that they are losing during the trial, they may come back with an offer before the judge decides in your favor. The question then becomes whether you should take their settlement offer.
Experienced Legal Counsel Is Imperative
It is important to have an attorney knowledgeable personal injury attorney representing you throughout this process. These claims require a great deal of legal knowledge that is not common knowledge to all attorneys. A lawyer that deals with these types of cases has an advantage in the courtroom. They have contacts at the major insurance companies and know the tricks of the trade. Having suitable counsel can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful case.