Why You Need a Lawyer Even if Your Case is Going to Settle | Injury Accident Lawyers
Many injury victims mistakenly believe that the at-fault party’s insurance company will take care of them, no fuss required. Sadly, this doesn’t usually happen. Insurance companies are for profit. They are in business to make money. If they paid everyone fairly for their claims, their profits would go down. In fact, insurance companies are notorious for engaging in manipulative strategies to avoid having to pay injured parties.
What Can Claimants Do to Fight for Fair Compensation?
The best decision you can make is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you think that your case will conclude in an “easy settlement,” you still need the knowledge and skillset of a personal injury attorney to maximize the settlement amount.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
You’re not a trained attorney. That means you don’t know the ins-and-outs of detailed court procedures, let alone have the strategic experience to understand how to properly interrogate witnesses and present evidence in court.
In fact, this depth of knowledge is considered so crucial, that American courts discourage claimants from moving forward without an attorney. It’s a choice that you’re legally allowed to make, but a foolish one – like swallowing a tube of poison to test whether it will harm you.
Take the time to heal and recover from your injuries. Focus on your recovery. Do not concern yourself with things that are beyond your experience and training. Unless you’re a personal injury attorney yourself, you simply don’t know how to negotiate a settlement with a hostile insurance company, for example.
What Are the Responsibilities of Personal Injury Lawyers?
The responsibilities of personal injury attorneys include:
- Investigate your injuries and how they happened
- Identify the liable parties—if there is more than one, this can maximize your compensation
- Hold the right parties accountable for your damages
- Collect evidence
- Research all applicable insurance policies
- Protect you from falling victim to the insurance company’s tactics
- Ensure all your damages are accounted for within your demand for compensation
- Prepare your case for trial if you don’t receive a reasonable settlement offer
- Represent you at trial, if you decide to take your claim to trial
Is it Better to Settle or Go to Trial?
In general, an out of court settlement is preferable to going to trial. There are many benefits for both parties if they can agree to settle out of court.
These benefits include:
- Decreased cost overall—it’s more expensive to go to court
- Decreased time to resolve the claim—you don’t have to prepare for trial and wait for a court date
- More control over the resolution of the claim—you aren’t putting the fate of your case in the hands of a judge or jury
Injured parties can also avoid the hassle and anxiety of going before a judge and jury, while insurance companies, and sometimes clients, can preserve their reputation by not having the ordeal on a permanent and public court record. Most cases end in a settlement, due to a combination of these benefits.
That being said, skilled attorneys understand that part of getting a “high” settlement is being ready and able to go to trial, if necessary. The threat of a trial has to be there to maximize the settlement amount.
The Settlement Negotiation Process
During the settlement negotiation, your attorney will be deeply familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of your claim. Typically, settlement negotiations begin after your attorney sends an initial demand letter to the at-fault party or their insurance company. This letter describes in detail:
- What happened
- Why you deserve compensation
- Wow much you are requesting
- And why
Once the insurance company or their attorney receives this settlement demand letter, they will reach out to your personal injury attorney and make a counteroffer to the demand letter. This usually begins settlement negotiations. The negotiations can happen in person, at scheduled meetings, over the phone, or via email. The negotiation process can last days, weeks, months, or even longer. It varies from case to case.
It’s your injury attorney’s responsibility to present you with the personal injury settlement offers, and to provide you with legal advice as to whether it’s an acceptable offer. In the end, YOU are the one who gets to decide if a personal injury settlement offer is acceptable. In the event that you do not receive any acceptable settlement offers, you can elect to move forward towards court litigation.
Do bear in mind that accident settlements can be reached even after the trial starts. If you do agree to a settlement, you are required to sign a form agreeing not to pursue accident compensation for the same reason, and sometimes, to refrain from disclosing the details of the settlement.
What Happens at a Settlement Meeting?
Attorneys generally work through the negotiation process themselves. Usually, your attorney will ask for a settlement amount close to what was initially demanded. The defending party will likely point out a few weaknesses in your case and make a counteroffer. Your accident attorney will then point out weaknesses in their arguments, and will serve up another counteroffer. This offer-counteroffer dynamic will go back and forth until their efforts are exhausted or they reach an agreement for the value of your personal injury claim. Your attorney will let you know when it might be a good idea to accept a settlement offer.
Speak with an Injury Lawyer Today
Insurance companies know that claimants with legal representation are serious about getting the compensation they deserve for their injuries. They also know that personal injury lawyers know the true value of their client’s injury claim, so presenting a lowball offer won’t work. So you can increase your chances of a full and fair accident settlement by relying on an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your case.
Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 or fill out our form to get connected to a qualified attorney in your area in just 10 minutes or less. Legal consultation is free, so don’t delay!