It often takes just a split-second for an accident to occur. But that may then be followed by months of medical care and rehabilitation. While recovering from an accident, you may be unable to work and earn a living. Of course, the bills continue to pile up during this time.
When an accident is the result of someone else’s negligence, you understandably want to hold that person or persons legally accountable. You have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and related losses. But you may also be weary of pursuing a personal injury claim that might lead to months–even years–of litigation.
The reality is that most personal injury claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement. It is often not in the interest of either side to settle a dispute in court. But how do you actually get to a settlement?
Speak with an Attorney
The first step is that you need to schedule an initial consultation with a qualified personal injury lawyer. During this consultation, you must be prepared to fully explain your accident and injuries. You should also provide the attorney with any evidence to support a potential personal injury claim, such as your
- medical bills.
- photos of the accident.
- any communications you have had with an insurance company.
The more information you can provide, the quicker your attorney can get up-to-speed on your situation.
Investigating Your Claim
Once you hire an attorney, they will continue to gather evidence in support of your personal injury claim. This may include contacting potential witnesses, obtaining expert opinions, and in some cases even retaining specialists who can reconstruct the accident itself. The goal of this investigatory process is to identify all parties who may be held financially responsible for your injuries.
Sending a Demand Letter
After completing the investigation phase, the next step is for your attorney to estimate your total damages and send what is known as a “demand letter” to the responsible parties–or more commonly, to their insurance company. This letter explains why the policyholder is at-fault for the accident and demands a certain amount of money as compensation.
Negotiating a Settlement
In some cases, an insurance company will accept a demand letter at face value and cut a check. But a more common reply is for the defendant or insurance company to enter into settlement negotiations. The other side will start by making a counter-offer. Both will then exchange further counter-offers over a period of weeks or months. Ideally, both sides will arrive at a figure they can both live with.
Reserving Your Right to Sue
Of course, not all personal injury cases end in an immediate settlement. The accident victim can break off negotiations at any point and file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Keep in mind, filing a lawsuit does not mean an end to settlement talks. The parties can keep negotiating through the entire litigation process–in some cases right up to a jury reaching a verdict.
Contact Meagher Injury Lawyers Today
Shepherdsville personal injury attorney Tate Meagher is a Kentucky native with over a decade of experience in handling personal injury claims. He and his team will work to obtain the best possible settlement for you and your family. Contact his office today to schedule a free initial consultation.