Most civil injury cases never end up going to trial. Instead, the plaintiff and defendant often come to an agreement over how much money to award to an injured party. The Law Office of David E. Gordon has many years of experience navigating the settlement process in Memphis car accident cases. By working with a Board-certified car accident attorney like David, you can learn the various ways to acquire compensation.
David will begin the settlement process with a demand package, which involves sending a letter to the insurance company outlining all of the medical treatment, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life that the injured client has experienced. Photographs of the vehicles and injuries, copies of the medical records and medical bills, and verification of the client’s lost earnings are all sent as evidence.
The injured party’s team sends a settlement demand and the defense team responds with a counter-offer of their own, which will almost always be lower. The two sides negotiate back and forth until they reach a figure that both sides are satisfied with, or else the case moves to court.
Most auto collision settlements in Memphis are made through a check from the defendant’s insurance company to the injured party. In return, the injured individual signs a form that states the matter is fully resolved and they will not seek any further compensation.
There are some situations in which cases resolve in structured settlements. These are cases in which the injury is severe and the parties agree that the injured person will receive a certain amount of money in installments over a prolonged period of time. For example, a structured settlement might declare that a person will receive $50,000 immediately and then $20,000 every year for the next 20 years.
Cases involving minors under the age of 18 are required to be approved by a judge if the settlement is more than $10,000. Sometimes smaller cases are court-approved because the insurance company wants that court’s blessing before they send the check to the child’s parent.
The biggest benefit of a settlement is that one knows exactly how much they are going to have in the end. In a trial, the jury decides how much money, if any, to award. While this might yield a more positive outcome, it is also possible that the jury does not feel the defendant was completely at fault, and the injured person ends up with less.
Another reason that cases settle as opposed to going to trial is that people do not want the stress of a trial. There is a lot of pressure and anxiety that comes with a lawsuit. Many personal injury suits take about two years to get to trial. During that time the injured person must answer questions under oath regarding their medical history, employment history, and criminal history. Then they must submit to an interview by opposing counsel. Though the law firm helps the client through the entire process, an early settlement eliminates this prolonged anxiety over the outcome and gets the money in the plaintiff’s pocket sooner.
David does not settle the case until the client knows exactly how much money they stand to receive and gives their approval.
An injured person might refuse a settlement because the amount being offered is unreasonable. Reasonable offers should be seriously considered but sometimes an insurance company has a completely different valuation of a case. Even after a trial begins, the parties are still allowed to come to a settlement agreement. In this way, the settlement process for a local car accident case never truly ends until an agreement is reached or the jury renders a verdict.
When considering a settlement, a person should always take into account the consequences of rejecting it. It is possible that the insurance company will offer more money in the future if a settlement offer is refused but it is also possible that it could take quite some time before they do so. Whenever a settlement offer is rejected, one has to take into account the possibility that a jury could return a verdict that is less than the amount offered.
A trial is a stressful situation for everyone involved, especially the injured person. That is why it is important to carefully consider any settlement offer if it means avoiding a trial.
Personal injury lawyers know every element of damage to which a person is entitled, and how to obtain the bills and records that can put pressure on the insurance companies. By understanding what is needed and knowing how to get these things quickly, hiring David E. Gordon could dramatically speed up your settlement process in a Memphis car accident case. Place a call now to get advice on how you can recover damages.