When people get injured in a car collision or another type of accident, they often worry about hiring an attorney to guide them through the claims process. They imagine legal TV shows, with lawyers yelling at each other and judges trying to keep control. That’s why most people are surprised to learn that the majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial.
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Out of all of the personal injury claims that occur each year, only 4% to 5% ever see the inside of a courtroom. Of those that do go to trial, the results are unpredictable, and the victim and risks not getting any compensation at all. However, those cases that do go trial also give the victim the chance to recover punitive damages, which can significantly increase the amount they receive. To boil it all down, taking a claim to trial is a high-risk high potential reward proposition.
Factors Affecting Your Claim
What does the unlikelihood of litigation mean for your claim? It means that you can take a deep breath and rest easy, since it is very unlikely that your personal injury claim will go to court. Both victims and insurance companies benefit when claims can be resolved outside the courtroom, so if you have an experienced attorney, you’re in a good position to negotiate for what you deserve.
A number of factors can determine whether or not your case goes to court. These include:
- The skill of your attorney. A good personal injury attorney knows the ins and outs of a tough negotiation. Insurance companies spend a lot of money figuring out how to deprive victims of the money they deserve, and attorneys spend a lot of time finding ways to hold insurance companies accountable. An attorney who knows when to push for more, when to pull back, when to call off negotiations, and when to wait can mean the difference between a satisfactory settlement and a drawn-out court battle.
- The flexibility of the insurance company. Of course, the attorney isn’t the only party in negotiations. The insurance company plays a big role. While most insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid a court case and the extra money associated with one, some are very stubborn when it comes to settling claims. No matter how reasonable an attorney is, they may refuse to negotiate.
- How cut-and-dry your claim is. If it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other party caused your injury, the insurance company may be in a rush to settle the claim, get it done, and move on. If liability is in question, though, they may be willing to take their chances in court.
- The value of your claim. The value of your claim is an important factor. The more expensive your claim is likely to be, the more pushback you may get from the insurance company.
- Your role in the accident. Whether or not you share any liability for the accident is very important. Alabama uses the doctrine of pure contributory negligence, which states that if a victim is at all liable for the accident, they recover nothing in court. This means that insurance companies might be willing to go to court if they have a good chance of proving that you are partially at fault.
To Settle or Not to Settle?
This is another area where you should trust your attorney. Deciding whether or not to settle is a question that varies from case to case. In some cases, the insurance company’s final offer is insultingly low and you’re better off going to court. In other cases, litigation might just be too risky and the insurance company’s final offer is actually fair.
That’s why it’s important to choose an attorney you can trust. An experienced attorney has seen enough personal injury cases play out that they know how yours is likely to resolve. Pushing for more when the insurance company has already offered a fair amount or insisting on taking your case to court could lead to you getting nothing. Follow your attorney’s guidance in this area.
Get the Help You Deserve with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey
Don’t rely on the insurance company to give you the money you deserve after an accident. Let us help. Schedule a consultation with our team now by calling us at 800-574-4332 or contacting us online.