From a demand letter to disbursing funds, the process can be lengthy and complex.
Did you know that in the American legal system, most cases never make it to trial? This is true in both criminal and civil cases — including personal injury claims.
A high percentage of California personal injury cases are settled outside of court, including ones where a lawsuit is never even filed. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer can often negotiate a settlement without the time-consuming and costly process of litigation — although going to trial may sometimes be necessary to protect your legal rights and ability to obtain sufficient compensation. So how does the settlement negotiation process work?
The Negotiation Process
After an accident, an injured person typically meets with a personal injury attorney to discuss their rights and options. If they decide to move forward with a claim, the lawyer then begins to investigate and evaluate the case. Based on this investigation, the attorney will put together what is known as a demand letter. This letter will set forth the basic facts of the case, the nature and extent of the person’s injuries, the legal basis for holding the other party responsible, and a demand for a specific amount of compensation. The letter is then sent to the other party (or his insurance company), and works as the first offer in a negotiation.
In the majority of cases, the insurance company will not simply accept the demand for compensation and cut a check. Instead, the insurance company will send out a claims adjuster to investigate the facts of the case for them. Based on that investigation, the adjuster (or an attorney) will then issue a counteroffer, which is typically much lower than the amount requested in the demand letter.
The parties then may go back and forth several times, pointing out the weaknesses in the other side’s case and the strengths in their own. Eventually, they may be able to reach a number that is agreeable to both sides. The case is considered to be settled once documents have been signed and checks have been cut. This process can happen quickly, or over a long time. The important thing to remember is that your Riverside personal injury attorney is working to get the best possible settlement for you, which may time some time.
If the parties cannot agree to a settlement, then a lawsuit may be filed and the case may go to trial. Throughout the litigation process, the parties may continue to engage in negotiations. For example, if your attorney manages to get a key piece of evidence that is favorable to the other side suppressed (meaning that it cannot be put into evidence at trial), then the insurance company may be more willing to settle the case. If facts come out during discovery (the process where the parties exchange information) that are not helpful to your case, your lawyer may advise you to accept a settlement offer that may be lower than what you originally wanted.
No two personal injury cases are the same, and each negotiation process will be different based on the facts of the case and the parties involved. An aggressive, experienced personal injury lawyer can often increase your chances of a favorable resolution to your case. In Riverside and beyond, the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker will help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries. Contact our office today at 800-333-0000 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation. There is never a fee unless we recover money for you!