Personal injury cases come in a number of different forms. Animal bites, which are suffered by half of all Americans in their lifetime, could be the cause, and nearly one pedestrian injury occurs every seven minutes in the U.S. Car accidents and faulty products may also be culprits.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident that was a result of another person’s negligence, it’s probably a good idea to look into putting in a personal injury claim. You can file a personal injury claim to recover any expenses originating from the injury, like lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.
When you bring such a claim to a personal injury attorney, they’ll usually do one of two things: pursue a personal injury settlement or file a lawsuit.
The Personal Injury Process
Most of the time, your lawyer won’t be communicating with the person who injured you. They’ll be talking with a representative from that person’s insurance company, or their defense lawyer. The person’s insurer may be required to pay out for injuries caused by their client, depending on the circumstances.
Usually your lawyer will start by sending a demand letter to the parties representing the person who injured you, detailing the accident, your injuries and the reason you believe it to be the other person’s fault. The letter will also include a requested amount for your personal injury settlement.
The defendant’s representatives can then reply with a counteroffer that’s usually lower than your requested amount. These negotiations will go back and forth, and if a satisfying settlement is not met, then you and your attorney can file a lawsuit to demand the amount in a trial.
Settle or Sue?
Personal injury settlements are usually preferable, because trial cases may last a long time and cost a considerable amount of money. If you can get a settlement that covers any damages you feel entitled to (including punitive damages designed to punish the defendant), you may be able to settle out of court without going to trial. If the counteroffer is not enough to cover your expenses (or the severity of your injury), then you should talk to your lawyer about going to trial.