Personal injury claims and lawsuits are complex, and that’s why it is highly recommended you hire an attorney after a car accident in which the other driver was negligent or reckless and caused your injury. The length of time required to settle a personal injury claim (or lawsuit) depends on many factors, but with a car accident lawyer on your side, your chances of getting the compensation you deserve increase exponentially. One part of the personal injury process that can take quite some time is the negotiation of a settlement.
Most of us will be involved in some type of car accident, but not everyone needs to pursue a car accident injury claim. Whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant, if you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, you’ll need two things: a lawyer and patience. Injury claims and lawsuits (especially wrongful death claims) can drag on for months, and the most complex cases may even take years to settle. When it’s time to settle your car accident claim, you’ll want a skilled personal injury lawyer handling the negotiations of your settlement.
How Do Attorneys Reach Settlements?
A personal injury settlement is defined “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, which typically follows a pattern described here.
An injured person’s lawyer will make a demand for a sum of money, and in response, the responsible party/insurance company/defense lawyer representing him will make an offer to pay a lesser amount of money. With the negotiation process, the injured party gradually reduces the original demand and the responsible party/insurance company gradually increases the counteroffer. 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 number is amenable to both sides, the responsible party issues a settlement check in exchange for a “Release,” 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 or his insurance company.
When a settlement is rejected, the next step is the lawyer files a lawsuit, or, if a lawsuit is already pending when the offer is made, the case may go to trial, which is very rare in car accident cases. At a trial, the jury will determine what amount the responsible party/insurance company must pay to compensate the injured person; the plaintiff must accept the amount that is decided upon by the jury.
It’s a Process
Your lawyer will first evaluate your case and determine fault. Your personal injury attorney will also work with any medical professionals who treated you to obtain medical reports of your injuries and treatment.
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.). There’ll be an evaluation of how the injuries will affect your future ability to return to your job (or earn some other type of living). Part of the process involves your lawyer analyzing settlement offers in comparison to what a jury would likely award at trial. Your attorney’s experience and knowledge is very crucial at this point in the personal injury process. Only a skilled personal injury attorney can help you get the general and special damages you deserve following a car accident, and your attorney will explain any pain and suffering you’ve endured because of the accident.