When you have been injured in an accident or as the result of someone’s negligent behavior, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries. Does this require you to go to court to get a settlement? It depends. A personal injury lawyer can represent you through the process of negotiations with an insurance company, as well as file your personal injury case through the courts. The question of whether you will ever actually have to go to court depends on the circumstances of your case, the extent of your injuries, and the amount the insurance company or at-fault party is willing to pay in order to keep the case out of court. Either way, you can be assured that by hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your claim, you will get the maximum amount of compensation available-money that can go a long way towards helping you recover from your injuries.
Insurance Company Settlements
One way of settling your case without going to court is through an insurance company settlement. Once you file your claim, insurance companies in California are required by the state’s Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations to investigate the matter and to respond by either accepting or denying your claim within 40 days. Once they have offered you a settlement, they will ask you to sign an insurance release form, releasing the insurance company from any future liability for your injuries. There is no time limit for you to sign the release, and insurance companies are prohibited from pressuring you in any way to sign. At this point, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim, and recommend whether the amount of compensation is enough to cover the damages you sustained. Oftentimes insurance companies undervalue claims, and if this is the case, your lawyer can begin negotiating with the insurance company. You can still achieve a settlement without going to court, but by bringing in an attorney who is familiar with the types and amounts of compensation available, you are more likely to get a reasonable settlement offer.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you and your lawyer decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit is in your best interests, there is still a strong likelihood that your case will settle without ever having to go to court. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, roughly 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled before they go to trial. There are two main reasons many cases settle out of court:
- The insurance company or representatives would have to pay heavy court costs and legal fees imposed by the judge if your case goes to court and you win. By settling out of court, they can avoid lengthy attorney’s fees as well as the court costs for the additional hearings and court time required if the case went to court.
- At-fault parties and their representatives often feel they can mitigate or reduce some of the damages by settling on an amount willingly, rather than having a judge set the amount they have to pay.
Be aware that settling a personal injury case out of court is not always an easy matter. There will likely be plenty of haggling between your lawyer and the lawyer for the opposing party, and there may be settlement offers that are rejected for being too small. While the negotiation process can seem drawn out, it is necessary to ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.