If you’ve been involved in any type of personal injury case, you know it’s a complex process that can take several months or years to settle. Depending on the severity of the accident and injuries and determining who’s liable for how much in damages, personal injury cases can drag on for a very long time. With an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, the process will usually go much more quickly, and with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer fighting for you, the end result will usually be much more favorable for you than if you were to go it alone.
Since car accident personal injury cases are the most common, we will use this type of personal injury claim as our point of reference. At some point in our lives, most of us will be involved in some type of car accident, but not all of us will be involved in a personal injury claim stemming from that car accident. If you do find yourself in the middle of a personal injury claim—either as the plaintiff or defendant—it’s virtually impossible to go through this complex process without the guidance of a personal injury attorney. And when it comes time to settle your case, you’ll want a skilled personal injury lawyer handling the negotiations of your settlement.
How Lawyers Reach Settlements
A settlement is “an agreement between an injured person and an insurance company or person responsible for causing the injury by which the responsible person/insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money and the injured person agrees to accept the offer.” A settlement is reached through the process of negotiation and the process usually goes something like this:
An injured person’s lawyer will make a demand for a sum of money, and in response, the responsible party/insurance company/personal injury lawyer representing him will make an offer to pay a lesser amount of money. Through the process of negotiation, the injured party gradually reduces their demand and the responsible party/insurance company gradually increases their offer. A settlement is reached if the responsible party/insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money, which the injured party is willing to accept.
When a settlement is accepted the responsible party issues a settlement check in exchange for a “Release,” which is basically a contract by which the responsible party agrees to pay a certain sum of money to the injured party and the injured party agrees to make no further claim against the responsible party and his insurance company.
When a settlement is rejected a lawsuit is filed, or if a lawsuit is already pending when the offer is made, the decision is made to continue the case to a jury trial. At a trial, the jury will determine what amount the responsible party/insurance company must pay to compensate the injured person and the injured person must accept the amount that is decided upon by the jury.
What Your Lawyer Will Do During the Settlement Process
A personal injury attorney will lead this process by first evaluating the details of the accident and injuries and determine fault. Your personal injury attorney will also work with your physicians to obtain medical reports that document the injuries you’ve sustained and what treatment has been necessary since the time of the accident.
An attorney will then also determine what effects your injuries will have on your future (medical expenses, lost wages, living modifications that may be necessary, etc.). Your attorney will carefully evaluate how the injuries will affect your future ability to return to their job or ear other income. Your personal injury lawyer will analyze settlement offers in comparison to what a jury would likely award at trial; this analysis is based on the attorney’s experience with prior settlements and verdicts of similar personal injury cases.