It might surprise you to learn that between 95% and 96% of all personal injury cases never go to trial, instead they reach a settlement out of court. Why does this happen so often, avoiding the necessity of a trial?
If you have been injured in a personal injury case, like a slip and fall accident or an automobile accident, you might be wondering about how your case will proceed. What should you know about insurance settlements if that’s the route you and your personal injury attorney choose to take?
It’s frustrating and challenging enough to face your recovery; you’re also worrying about how to proceed with your case too.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about insurance settlement claims.
What Is an Insurance Settlement?
When you are involved in an accident or a personal injury case, you have a decision to make. This is especially true if your injury is because of the fault of another person’s actions. You probably want them to be held accountable for the accident. You also want your expenses covered that are a result of the accident.
This is when you contact an attorney to help you navigate your case. Often the attorney will work with the insurance company to negotiate compensation for you. (More on settlement money later).
Once you start dealing with the insurance company involved there are really two things that can happen. You can take the case to trial or you can reach a settlement with the insurance company.
In the latter, the insurance company agrees to pay you an agreed-upon amount to close the case without it going to trial.
Why Consider a Settlement for Your Case?
Once you have considered the cost of your injuries and how they have impacted your life, your attorney will start to negotiate with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.
The question becomes whether you take their settlement offer, decline it, continue negotiating or go to trial. Often insurance companies will lowball your offer, hoping they can get you to take a smaller offer. If the insurance company is not negotiating in good faith or not offering the proper amount of compensation, it might be necessary to go to trial.
Although, you might consider why so many cases actually do get settled. If you go to trial, you risk either getting no compensation or getting less than what’s offered. Trials are expensive too. So in the end more of your compensation will need to be paid to your attorney.
Many people find that after some negotiating it makes more sense to accept a settlement offer and avoid a trial.
What to Consider as Part of the Settlement
As you consider your settlement amount, you should have some understanding of how those amounts get calculated. There are two categories for settlements. There are general damages and special damages.
In general damages, you consider the subjective impact the injury has had on your life. This will be where you include money for pain and suffering. How much impact has the accident or injury had on your life? Even with a less severe injury, a personal injury accident can be very impactful on your life.
With special damages, the concrete costs of the accident will be considered. These will be things like your medical bills, therapies, prescription costs, damages to property, lost wages.
Insurance Settlement Process
One of the reasons you need an attorney is because you want someone who is representing your interests. Remember, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. Their goal is to pay out as little money as possible.
It’s the adjuster’s job to investigate the facts of the case, gather evidence, and information about costs, then offer a settlement amount. Their goal will be to get you to accept the offer of money to avoid going to trial while handing over as little as possible on behalf of the insurance company.
Getting a Personal Injury Attorney Involved
For the reasons above, you need someone who will negotiate on your behalf. There might be things that should be included in the settlement amount that you might not even realize could be included.
A good personal injury attorney is experienced at negotiating with the insurance company. They also know how to put an amount on your pain and suffering from the injury.
Be Wary of the Insurance Company Tactics
If an insurance company sees you don’t have legal representation, they will try to get away with paying less in the settlement. Their goal is to quickly get you to agree to a settlement amount, often before all the bills related to your case are even gathered.
The adjuster might be gathering information on the case. They are also trained in negotiating. They want you to accept the smallest offer possible. Often the beginning offer is much less than what they are actually willing to pay.
Also, be wary of signing or agreeing to anything with the insurance company before you have legal representation. Often insurers will try to get you to quickly agree to an insurance settlement before you can really learn how much your case could be worth.
What to Know About Insurance Settlements for Your Case
If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, you want and deserve compensation. Understanding how insurance settlements work can help you know how to proceed with your case.
It’s important to have legal representation when you are dealing with an insurance company. You don’t want the insurance company to not pay you what you deserve.
If you have been injured in a car accident or other personal injury case, we can help. Contact us today to set up a completely free case evaluation. We can help you decide how to proceed with your case and get you the compensation you deserve.