More and more injury cases in the U.S. are ending up in court. And while relatively few cases used to go all the way to trial, nowadays more and more cases are going to trial than ever before. There are multiple advantages to reaching settlements before trial, such as less uncertainty, less stress, fewer costs, less time invested, and greater privacy. So why doesn’t every case settle out of court? And do you know why more injury cases end up in court? The answer is simple: Insurance companies try to exploit the injured when they do not have good legal representation. Without a solid legal and factual foundation to proceed to court, injury victims are usually stuck between a rock and a hard place; the rock being the inflexible insurance industry, and the hard place being mounting medical bills and lost time from work.
Why More Injury Cases End Up in Court
Wondering why more injury cases end up in court? When insurance companies refuse to pay all of the injured plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, future medical care, and other damages, the plaintiff has no other legal choice left but to file a lawsuit.
Reaching a settlement simply means that the injured party and the defendant (or more likely the defendant’s insurance representatives) have come to an agreement on an amount of money without waiting for a decision by a judge or a jury. If such an agreement is never reached, then a lawsuit is the only remaining legal remedy for the injured.
The true value of any case for out of court settlement purposes is based on what will likely happen if the case does go to court. Understanding how to settle out of court requires an understanding of how to get the insurance companies to the point where they are willing to make a reasonable settlement offer. In order to get to that point, you will need an attorney who will first conduct an in-depth investigation of your claim, gather evidence, and build a strong case that shows not only the defendant’s fault, but also the true measure of the harms and losses.
Conducting an Investigation
Soon after your injury accident, it is important for you to speak with an attorney so that you can learn more about your rights. You can also explore how to settle out of court and ask whether settling will be beneficial in your case. When you have an attorney’s help early on in your case, your lawyer can handle your case for you so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Many lawyers work with investigators to learn more about what happened in their clients’ accidents. The investigators may work to locate and interview all of the witnesses to your accident so that your lawyer has a more complete picture of what happened.
Gathering evidence after an accident is vital to building a strong case that may encourage a settlement. Your lawyer may work with an accident reconstruction expert to make determinations about the speed, direction of travel, the point of impact, and exactly what occurred. An accident reconstructionist’s work may be vital in helping to clearly show the defendant’s liability. To help demonstrate what happened, your lawyer may use technology to demonstrate the accident visually with digital modeling.
In addition to accident reconstruction work, your lawyer may value your claim. He or she may get the opinion of a medical expert about the extent of your injuries, your prognosis, and the potential costs of your future medical treatment. Depending on your injuries and other losses, your lawyer may also gather evidence of your income losses, your future expected earnings losses, and other assorted damages. This can give your lawyer a range of values within which a reasonable settlement offer should fall.
The Discovery Process
After your lawsuit is filed, the defendant will be able to file his or her response. When the court has received both the petition and answer, the case will enter the discovery phase. During this time, both the plaintiff and the defendant will be required to exchange certain documents and evidence that they have with each other. You may undergo depositions, during which you may have to testify before a court reporter. Depositions normally involve taking testimony from the plaintiff, the defendant, the investigating officer, and any witnesses. Depositions help gain a better understanding of the facts and believability of the witnesses and how a jury and court may interpret their testimony. If you have built a strong case showing liability and are able to provide this evidence to the defense, you may be more likely to reach a settlement of your case before trial.
Settlements can occur before, during, or after a lawsuit. Every case is unique and depends on a host of factors. By gathering evidence and building a strong case, your lawyer may be able to convince the insurance company that settling out of court is in their best interests. Even if a lawsuit is filed, many insurance companies agree to settle before a trial commences. In some cases, lawsuits are settled within days of scheduled jury trials. Your lawyer may engage in ongoing negotiations with the insurance company throughout the life of your case in an effort to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you. However, be sure your lawyer is experienced in court. These days, not all cases settle without a trial.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Building a case in such a way that the defendant’s liability and your losses are clearly demonstrated may take extensive work. An experienced personal injury attorney will understand how to settle out of court and how to build a strong case on your behalf. If the defendant still does not extend a reasonable offer, your lawyer may then be prepared to advocate for you through a jury trial. Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today to learn more about your rights, your potential claim, and why more injury cases end up in court. We can help you determine the best course of action so that you can obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.