There are a lot more legal cases than there are courtrooms, judges, and lawyers. If every lawsuit went to trial, our state and federal court system would virtually shut down. This is especially true given the backup in cases due to the limited work courts have done due to COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, the vast majority of legal cases are resolved before a trial occurs for many reasons, including the courts’ limited resources.
This is true of virtually every legal issue. Whether you’re injured in a vehicle accident, getting divorced, arrested for dealing drugs, or you’re a business owner suing someone who cheated your company, chances are very good your case will be resolved through negotiation, not in a courtroom in front of a jury.
If the Parties Won’t Settle, the Jury Will Decide the Case?
Personal injury litigation is a way to resolve a dispute between you and the insurance company covering the person causing the accident. That’s all it is. There’s nothing magical about it. Angels don’t appear in the courtroom sing the jury verdict.
You and the insurance company disagree, we can’t reach an agreement, so you put the issue in the hands of a judge and jury to decide for you. You and the insurance company give up control over the dispute and hand it over to others, hoping for a positive outcome that may or may not happen.
Our Investigation Builds Your Legal Claim
After you’re injured and meet with me to discuss your case, I’ll be happy to answer your questions. If you want to retain me and it’s a case I want to take, I’ll provide a representation agreement for you to read and sign. If I’m retained to represent you, we’ll start working on investigating your case.
We’ll find all the relevant facts we can. We may hire accident experts for their opinion. We will get all your medical records and may send them to a medical expert for his or her review. After getting a good handle on the facts of your case and how Kentucky law would be applied, I’ll come up with a range that I think would be a fair settlement for your case. We’ll discuss it and after we agree, I’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining the results of our investigation and asking you be compensated for the harm you suffered.
Will that be enough to settle the case? Probably not. The insurance company does their own investigation, uses their own experts, and comes up with their own figure. If the numbers are close enough and the parties are flexible, we will agree to settle.
When you negotiate, you must understand the risks of going to trial. If that happens, not only do you lose control of how the case is resolved, you risk the jury seeing things very differently than we do. Your case could be dismissed, or you may win the case, but your damages award may be much less than we hoped. Going to trial is a gamble. If you don’t like taking risks, you probably won’t want to go to trial.
You Need to Put Your Feelings Aside When Negotiating a Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement
You decide whether to settle or not and the amount. I create the foundation and build the case, but you decide what to do with it. But you must be reasonable. You may be very angry, and the accident may have terribly impacted your life, but this is ultimately a negotiation over money. We need to put a dollar figure on your situation and what it will take for you to put it behind you. The insurance company will also create a dollar figure, and ideally, we’ll work it out.
If you’re not being reasonable, if you’re not looking at the cold, hard facts that a jury will look at, and only see this as a way to seek retribution or punish the other party, you’re working with the wrong attorney. If you have a case worth $50,000 but won’t accept anything less than $500,000, you’ll have to find yourself another lawyer. You have very good reasons to get as much as you can from your lawsuit, but there’s no good reason to be irrational.
Starting Down the Road to an Injury Trial Doesn’t Mean We’ll Get There
If negotiations after the demand letter aren’t going well, we will probably file the lawsuit and start down the litigation path. Both sides spend more time, energy, and money on the case but we also may get much more information.
We may get into the discovery phase of the case. That involves the parties asking each other written questions, exchanging information, and documents. We may also have depositions where the parties, witnesses, and expert witnesses answer questions under oath that attorneys ask for both sides.
Cases often settle after discovery because both sides put their cards on the table. All the relevant facts should be known, both sides have an idea who will be a good or bad witness, and we should know the possible legal problems with the case. Both sides should have a good idea how much your case is worth. Most disagreements are worked out and the case is resolved.
If we still can’t reach a conclusion and a trial is getting closer, we may use a mediator. They are often an attorney or a retired judge who helps the parties reach an agreement. A good mediator may come up with some creative solutions, see things in a different light, and help the parties focus on what they need (not what they want).
If that doesn’t work and the insurance company is being unreasonable, we’ll go to trial. Settlements can happen just before or during a trial. Even if you win, you still may want to settle. You may get a substantial award, but there may be good reasons why the insurance company may appeal the decision. If they do, it may delay receiving the jury award, possibly for years, so settling may be a good idea.
Take the Next Step. Contact Our Office.
No matter what path your case takes, I’m here for you. I will put in the work needed so you can get the best settlement possible. If that doesn’t work out, I will tell your story at your trial, defend your rights, and make it plain the other party is responsible for your injuries and that you deserve compensation.
If you have any questions and want to speak to me about injuries caused by an accident, please contact The Fleck Firm today at (270) 446-7000. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.