Suppose you have been hurt in a car or a slip & fall accident, and you believe someone else was responsible for your injuries. The defendant’s insurer has made a settlement offer. Still, you feel that the amount is not sufficient to compensate you for your lost wages, medical expenses, lost earning potential, and other relevant damages. You desire to get a fair settlement amount, but you are not sure how to get it. What should you do?
Whether you plan to handle your personal injury claim on your own or with an experienced lawyer, settlement negotiations can be time-consuming and challenging. The insurance company might try to deny or dispute that the incident that led to your injuries was the fault of their client (insured). Sometimes, the monetary value linked to your injuries may be minimized, and the overall impact of the injuries you suffered disregarded by the insurance adjuster. Though this is not fair, these are some of the ways insurance companies get around personal injury claims.
Consult with a personal injury lawyer
No matter the unique circumstances surrounding your personal injury claim, it is recommended to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. In many cases, lawyers can negotiate a fair settlement offer directly with the insurance company once the confusion about injuries and their impact on the plaintiff’s life is cleared up. If there is no significant progress in the settlement negotiations, your personal injury lawyer may need to take your case to court (file legal documents with the right court).
The process of filing a case in court is commonly referred to as litigation. The initial step of this process involves filing a Notice of Action and Statement of Claim with the right court. Next, the lawsuit is served on all parties believed to be responsible for the incident that caused your injuries. The accused will inform their insurer, and at this point, your lawyer will get a call from the insurance company’s lawyer or insurance adjuster.
Depending on your lawyer’s strategy, he or she will continue negotiating with the insurance adjuster or proceed with the specific lawyer assigned to the case. Your lawyer may also have a discovery examination so that the parties involved can ask questions of each other and get more information about the accident and the consequential damages. Discovery examination sessions help both the plaintiff and defendant understand the weaknesses and strengths of each other’s arguments. If a fair settlement offer cannot be achieved after the discovery examinations, it becomes necessary to determine a court date.
All the parties involved can engage in a settlement conference or a mediation session. Both exercises can result in further discussions between the plaintiff and the defendant and provide another chance to settle the matter before trial. Most personal injury claims settle out of court. However, occasionally a trial may be necessary if fair compensation cannot be achieved out of court.
If you were involved in a slip and fall accident, vehicle accident, or otherwise injured due to another person’s negligence, consult with a personal injury lawyer.