Will I Need to Go to Court?
The vast majority of personal injury claims resolve before filing a lawsuit. Of those that require a lawsuit because the insurance company is acting unreasonably, a tiny percentage end up going to trial.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU HIRE A LAWYER
A personal injury lawyer has two primary jobs. The first job is to help you recover and get back to work and your normal activities. The second job is to help you get the compensation you deserve.
After an injury, many accident victims do not know where to go for treatment. Typical questions include, should I go to the emergency room or urgent care? Should I see my primary care or family doctor? Should I treat with a chiropractor? There is no one correct answer. The answers to these questions depend on the nature and extent of the injury. A competent personal injury lawyer can help you sort through these questions. Lawyers who have been practicing a long time know experienced and credible medical providers who treat accident victims.
After you have completed treatment, your lawyer is in a position to evaluate your damages so that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. There are a lot of factors that determine how much an attorney will ask to settle a case. The nature and extent of your injuries
is a critical factor. For example, was your injury a neck sprain or did the collision damage a disc in the spine? Did you make a complete recovery, or do you still have significant problems? Are those problems permanent? Will you need future medical care?
The nature and extent of the treatment you received is also an essential factor. As an example, was the treatment for your neck injury limited to physical therapy, or did you undergo injections?
Your missed time from work is also another factor that determines the value of your injury claim.
Once your lawyer has evaluated your damages, he typically writes a letter to the insurance company asking for an amount to settle your case. This letter begins the negotiations. Usually, the lawyer and an insurance adjuster will make offers and counter-offers until the case settles.
The length of negotiations vary. Some negotiations take days, and others take months. It all depends on the complexity of the case. Usually, more severe injuries and damages take longer to resolve because more money is at stake. Mediations are often used to settle claims.
LAWSUIT AND COURT
Sometimes when the insurance company is acting unreasonably, it is necessary to file a lawsuit. A suit does not mean you will go to court or trial.
The wrongdoer gets served with a copy of the complaint. The insurance company assigns the defense of the wrongdoer to an attorney, called an insurance defense lawyer. The defense lawyer’s job is to protect the wrongdoer and the insurance company.
Both sides have the opportunity to do an investigation, referred to as “discovery.” The defense wants to know all about your case. If there is a liability dispute, the defense wants to see the evidence you have in support of your claim the wrongdoer was at fault. The attorney also wants
to see the evidence in support of your damages.
Settlement negotiations continue, although typically the defense attorney is not prepared to discuss settlement until he or she has completed an investigation.
If your attorney and the defense attorney cannot settle, mediation is usually the next step.
Most cases settle after the investigation is done or at mediation.
A small percentage do not settle. Those that don’t settle proceed to trial. The attorneys will continue to discuss settlement as the case approaches trial. Many cases settle near the trial date.
The likelihood of going to court if you make an injury claim is small. The fear of going to court should not deter you from making an injury claim. Should you need more information about your case, schedule a free consultation. No pressure, just answers.