It can take a long time to be paid the compensation you deserve after an accident. The more serious your physical injuries, the longer the case can take to be resolved. The main reason for the glacial pace of some personal injury cases is the reluctance of the at-fault driver's insurer to act quickly and pay you what you are owed. They are never in a rush to provide money to accident victims. Even so, there are certain milestones in a personal injury case that can signal things are coming to a head. Read on to find out more about these milestones. It might help increase your patience with things.
First Milestone — Representation and the Demand Letter
After you get weary of dealing with auto insurers who specialize in denying coverage, ignoring communications, and making promises they don't keep, you will consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer. One of the attorney's first acts will be to assemble the facts of the case and send the other side a letter. The letter of demand lets the other side know that you have retained representation, what you can prove about the case, and what you expect to receive in terms of compensation. Often, the demand letter results in a return correspondence from the other side.
Second Milestone — Negotiations Begin
In most cases, the attorneys for both sides will begin to take part in a series of casual negotiations via the phone about your case. More information about the accident may influence your demand, and you must remain flexible about the bottom dollar you are willing to accept. For example, an investigation (by either side) could turn up information that puts your claim of being innocent at risk. If the other side can show that you were even a little bit at fault, your chances of getting what you want are seriously compromised.
Third Milestone — Discovery Actions
When the case fails to settle, a lawsuit might be next. Before the case goes to trial, more evidence and testimony is elicited and traded back and forth between the parties. It is here that the other side, or you, might decide to avoid taking the case to court and settle. For example, if you depose an accident reconstruction expert as to the cause of the accident and during the deposition that testimony shows the other driver is at fault, a settlement offer might be on its way.
Final Milestone — The Trial
When settlements fail, the trial will begin. Just as in every step of the way, a settlement can still be offered after the case begins. The way a jury is perceiving your side can create an excellent opportunity for a settlement. Just remember, if the other side wants to settle, you probably have a very good case. Count on the advice of your personal injury lawyer when making the settlement decision. If you win, your case if over and you will have triumphed.
Contact a law firm like Siben & Siben LLP to learn more.