What is the process behind a car or truck accident settlement?
Hey there, folks, welcome back to Hammer TV. I’m Jim Adler, The Texas Hammer and in today’s episode, we’re continuing on with our FAQ series, where we’re answering all of your need-to-know questions about the world of personal injury law. Today’s question gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how your case is actually resolved. So without further ado, here’s the answer to the question: what is the process behind a car or truck accident settlement?
If you or a loved one has been in an accident and is considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, you might be wondering about the process—how is your case actually handled?
Every case is different, but generally speaking, all cases move through three phases: developing the record; negotiation; and resolution.
The first phase of a case is developing the record. This process often begins by interviewing you to get your side of the story. Your attorney will also request official copies of the police report and your medical records. Photographs of your property damage, your injuries, and the scene of the wreck may also be collected, and if you missed time from work because of your injuries, your employment records may be needed too. Your attorney will also work during this time to secure insurance coverage for your injuries.
In cases where no lawsuit is filed, your attorney will continue developing the record like this until you complete your medical treatment. The case then enters the negotiation phase. Your attorney will send a letter to the insurance company describing all of the evidence and demanding a payment on your behalf. The insurance company will either accept the demand or make a counter-offer for a smaller amount of money. This back-and-forth will continue until the parties can agree on a settlement. Your attorney will continue to advise you, to argue on your behalf, and to keep you updated during these negotiations. No settlement can occur without your agreement.
In cases where a lawsuit is filed, your attorney will continue developing the record through a formal process called discovery. Discovery allows your attorney to collect evidence from the defendants that they would not ordinarily want to produce. This can include things like proof that the defendant driver was distracted by his cell phone at the time of the wreck, or proof that his employer gave him inadequate training. The defendants will also be able to collect evidence from you in return, but your attorney will help protect you from questions that are too invasive.
After discovery, cases with a lawsuit often enter the negotiation phase through a process called mediation. Both sides will sit down with a neutral third party called a mediator who will hear both sides’ arguments, explain their weak and strong points, and assist the negotiations. Many cases are settled through mediation but some are not; those relatively few cases will then require a trial.
Whether you reached a settlement through informal negotiations or through a mediation, the final phase of your case is its resolution. You will sign an agreement promising to never sue the defendant again because of this accident and your attorney will help distribute the settlement so that all your medical bills are paid and you end up with the most possible money in your pocket.
Wow, that was a lot of great information there. Keep in mind that every case is different, and these differences mean that your case needs to be handled with a unique approach tailored to you, your family and your circumstances. If you have questions about this information or would like to discuss your case, you can get in touch with Jim Adler and Associates via the contact form at jimadler.com or by giving us a call at 1-800-567-7575.