If your only information about the legal profession came from movies and television, you could easily think that lawyers always dress fancy and that they spend a big part of their work week in a courtroom, arguing cases in front of a judge. In real life, though, lawyers spend a lot more time outside the courtroom, meeting with clients who are parties in a lawsuit or with other people who have information that would be relevant to the lawsuit. When they do go to court, it takes many hours of preparation for each hour actually spent in the courtroom. In fact, getting a judge involved in the case is usually a last resort. It only happens if none of the other means of resolving the dispute between the parties have succeeded. Here are some reasons why a personal injury case might go to court.
The Insurance Company Did Not Offer a Sufficient Settlement
If you are injured in a car accident, the first step is to file a claim with your insurance company. The insurance company will gather as much evidence as possible, both from you and from the other driver, regarding the details of the accident, as well as any expenses you incurred from the accident. (In many other kinds of accidents, the first step is likewise to file a claim with your insurance company.) The insurance company will use all of this evidence to decide which party it should hold liable for the accident. It will also decide how much compensation to offer you for medical expenses and, if it was a car accident, for repairs to your car.
The insurance company will send you an offer for a settlement. Since it can take weeks, or ev
en months, before the insurance company decides on a settlement amount, this is usually the insurance company offering to reimburse you for money you have already paid. The amounts insurance companies offer are not always enough to cover your expenses related to the accident. If the amount in the settlement offer from the insurance company is not sufficient, do not sign to accept the settlement offer. Instead, contact a personal injury lawyer.
The Parties Were Unable to Settle Out of Court
If you cannot resolve things through the insurance company, contact a lawyer. The other party in the lawsuit will most likely also hire a lawyer when he or she finds out that you are filing a lawsuit. The lawyers can then try to negotiate a settlement amount that is acceptable to both parties. If they succeed, then it is possible to settle the lawsuit out of court. In other words, if the defendant offers a settlement amount that is enough to cover your expenses (including lost wages for the workdays you missed because of your injuries), then you do not need to go to court.
Eric Schmidt has an excellent track record of negotiating appropriate settlements for plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. Contact Eric Schmidt in Phoenix, Arizona for a consultation about your personal injury case.