Is it Best to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit or Negotiate a Settlement Claim?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else, a motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD residents recommend can negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit on your behalf. The attorneys of Cohen & Cohen have extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies for our clients as well as taking cases to court.
As a result of your personal injury, you may be in pain and are unable to work. The medical bills may be piling up with years of recovery yet ahead of you. You may not be able to return to work anytime soon. In the meantime, you do not have any income.
If you have not yet contacted a motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD relies on, you may be wondering whether a settlement or a lawsuit is in your best interest. While we will be happy to discuss your unique case during a free, no-obligation consultation, the following information may provide a slightly clearer understanding of your options prior to meeting with a top motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD can provide.
The Differences Between a Lawsuit and A Personal Injury ClaimPersonal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim describes the filing of a claim with the insurance company of the at fault driver. This process begins before a lawsuit is even considered. The goal is to get as high a settlement as possible from the insurance company. An experienced College Park MD motor vehicle accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, which may result in a higher amount than if you were to negotiate it yourself.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
The insurance company and your motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD offers may not reach an agreement about the settlement amount. This can happen for any number of these reasons, including:
- The claims adjuster does not agree that the other driver was at fault
- The true severity of your injury is questioned by the other driver’s insurance agency
- The insurance agency believes you or your lawyer are asking for an unreasonable settlement amount
When it’s clear that a negotiation is not possible, your motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD relies on may recommend pursuing a lawsuit.
The Personal Injury Claims Process
After the accident, a victim and a trusted motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD has to offer may file a personal injury claim with the at fault driver’s insurance company if the victim suffered personal injury, property damage, or both.
The insurance company will then initiate a new claim and assign it to one of their claims adjusters. The assigned claims adjuster contacts the accident victim to negotiate a settlement. If a settlement is reached, a lawsuit is unnecessary.
How the Claims Adjuster Arrives at a Settlement Amount
The claims adjuster will likely want proof of several things, including:
- that their client caused the motor vehicle accident
- that their client was negligent in their actions
- that your injuries match the settlement amount requested
But how does the adjuster go about getting proof? Very likely he or she will review your medical bills and physician reports pertaining to your injury from the accident, read the police report, interview you and any witnesses of the motor vehicle accident, take photos of the accident scene, examine the damage of all vehicles involved in the accident, determine repair or replacement costs for your vehicle, and/or examine any additional evidence pertinent to the accident.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the claims adjuster will make a settlement offer to you and your attorney or will deny your claim altogether. A motor vehicle accident lawyer in College Park MD will make every effort to successfully counter offer the settlement with the maximum amount possible.
Once you sign the settlement agreement, you will receive payment, and the amount of your agreed compensation is final. From that point on, you generally cannot pursue additional money or file a lawsuit.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
Though you can legally initiate a lawsuit immediately following the accident, it most situations, it’s done as a last resort. Trials are expensive and time consuming. A settlement check is fast, and may be more than you would get from a lawsuit. If you hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD turns to for legal advice, he or she can recommend whether or not to accept the final settlement offer or take the matter to court.
Lawsuit expenses may include any or all of the following:
- Petition filing fees
- Unpaid time off from work
- Deposition and transcription costs
- Hiring doctors and other medical professionals to testify on your behalf
Arbitration as an Alternative Option
If both parties agree to an arbitration, this is done after a settlement agreement has failed but before taking the claim to court. The arbiter or arbitrator will listen to both sides and ask questions. Before the process begins, both sides must agree:
- What third party will be the arbiter
- That the arbiter’s ruling is binding and final
Arbitration is much cheaper than going to trial. It’s also faster, and tends to yield satisfactory compensation if properly handled by a top motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD can provide.
Personal Injury Victims Rely on Cohen & Cohen
If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault and you suffered an injury as a result, you owe it to yourself to get legal help that can make a real difference. When you need a motor vehicle accident lawyer College Park MD clients trust, contact Cohen & Cohen today to make an appointment for a free consultation.