If you have been the victim of a car accident and have a claim against a driver who injured you, you may be wondering how your case will be settled. Personal injury cases, including car accident cases, are relatively complicated matters that may require many steps in order to successfully negotiate a good settlement. For this reason, it is usually best to have a personal injury attorney help you settle your case.
The steps in a personal injury case may vary from one matter to another because no two cases are exactly the same. However, most cases follow a discernible pattern that includes the following steps:
- An injury occurs involving a victim and an at-fault party. The at-fault party could be an individual, a company, or even a government agency. Part of the job of your personal injury attorney is determining who is at fault in the accident and who may be liable for your damages.
- The victim receives medical treatment. Depending on the extent of his or her injuries, this could be one-time treatment or ongoing therapy. The costs of this medical treatment will usually form a significant portion of the claim for damages.
- The victim or the attorney and the insurance company discuss a possible settlement. If you are not represented by counsel, it is likely that you will receive some type of settlement offer from the insurance company. This is usually a very low figure compared to the actual value of your case. If you are represented by an attorney, your lawyer will handle this negotiation. If the insurance company does not come up with any type of reasonable settlement offer, your attorney may proceed to file a lawsuit.
- Your attorney files a lawsuit and the discovery process begins. If the insurance company refuses to work with you, your attorney may elect to file a lawsuit and begin discovery. The discovery process includes gathering evidence about the crash, interviewing witnesses, and preparing for trial. You may need an expert witness to testify on your behalf; if so, your attorney will secure this expert’s services during this time.
- Your attorney and the insurance company settle the case or go to trial. If a settlement is impossible, your case will proceed to trial. However, it is unlikely in most cases that this will happen. In fact, the majority of cases settle before trial.
Contact the car accident attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff in Miami for more information on recovering money for your car accident injuries.