All clients want to know: will there be an opportunity to settle their case short of a personal injury trial? The short answer is yes, there will be a number of them. But let me tell you what has to happen first.
Initiating Your Claim
When we first start your case and open the file the first thing we do is contact the insurance company for the responsible party, initiate and maintain a relationship with those people. They’re the ones that ultimately will control what the settlement offers will be. But, no settlement can be discussed until we understand how this accident has affected you. That means we know all the treatment that you’re going to need (and have) and how it’s affected you.
Because we cannot demand a settlement amount until we know the full extent of your injuries and what the outcome of your injuries will be and the affect that your injuries are going to have on your life, it is critical that you seek medical care and follow your doctor’s instruction. It is also essential that you keep thorough records of your treatment, hospital visits, and your personal healing experience. We recommend keeping a journal that documents both your injuries and healing process, and well as your personal emotions and any psychological harm associated with the injury. You should also ask family members and loved ones to document the experience from their end, and write down how it affects both you and them.
Demanding a Settlement and Opening Settlement Discussions
Once you’re medically stable, and once we understand from you and your doctors what your medical future holds and whether you’ll have any residual symptoms, we can then begin the process of discussing a settlement. We get all the information about your claim, your medical bills, your medical records, and your wage loss documents to the other side, and open settlement discussions.
Because valuating your claim and the full extent of your damages can be difficult to do, especially when it comes to the value of your noneconomic losses, we may need to work with a number of professionals who can help us to determine exactly what your claim is worth and how much a settlement should be. Experts who may help us to determine a settlement amount, and who may be called upon to speak to the extent and lasting effects of your injuries, include financial professionals, doctors, and mental health professionals.
Mediation & Negotiation to Reach a Settlement
Ideally, we try to settle a case out of court. Going to court is more time intensive, can be stressful for our clients, and is more expensive to pursue. Because of this, settlement discussions are often engaged in out of court before a lawsuit is filed. In fact, we normally do not even file a lawsuit until all negotiation efforts prior to a lawsuit being filed have been exhausted. If we cannot come to an agreement with an insurance company about how much your claim is worth and how much the insurance company should pay, then we will file a lawsuit.
Sometimes, settlement discussions won’t come until we’ve already filed your lawsuit and we’re into the litigation process. If we are, normally, both sides will agree to sit down with a neutral third party called a mediator and have settlement discussions to see if your case can get resolved at that point. If for some reason it doesn’t, there’s always an opportunity for attorneys for both sides to keep discussing settlement all the way up to trial, and even during trial.
Again, going to trial is not the ideal situation, as it is costly for both sides, can take months for a trial date to be set, and has an unknown outcome; both parties usually prefer reaching a settlement agreement on their own rather than having a judge issue a decision. However, in some cases, a trial is the only way for a person to recover the compensation that they deserve for their injuries, and it may be necessary.
Settling a Case Prior to Trial
So yes, in conclusion, there are numerous opportunities to settle short of trial. When you hire our experienced personal injury attorneys at the offices of GJEL Accident Attorneys, we will work hard to build a convincing case that is successful in obtaining you a fair settlement offer as early as possible, without going to court. If for some reason an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, you can take comfort in the fact that our lawyers have trial experience, and are prepared to go to court and litigate on your behalf if need be. Contact us today to learn more about why working with our team is a smart choice when you have been injured.