Personal Injury cases only go to trial when all settlement efforts have been unsuccessful. There is always the chance that the insurance company is bluffing by making you a low offer, and in that case, they may increase their offer to avoid the cost of trial. However, large insurance companies have almost unlimited resources, and can afford many lawyers and expert witnesses to try and discredit your claim.
Your attorney should be able to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of going to trial against the insurance company. In most cases, the insurance adjuster is aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the personal injury case, and they will do a cost/benefit analysis to minimize their financial exposure.
Does Having A Lawyer Involved Make Insurance Companies Evaluate A Claim Differently?
There is not a benefit to having a lawyer if your lawyer does not know what he or she is doing. Personal Injury cases can be very complex, and it is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the specific laws that govern your situation. There are certain situations where you probably don’t need to hire an attorney.
If the accident was not your fault, and you were not injured, the other driver’s insurance company will usually pay for your car repairs, rental car, and may pay you a nominal “nuisance” fee for the inconvenience of the accident. If the insurance company is not cooperating, or you suffered an injury in the accident, then it will be beneficial to have an attorney who is experienced in your specific type of claim.
Insurance adjusters have a goal of paying out as little as possible, and they may offer you an amount that sounds good but is a fraction of the amount you are actually entitled to. Having an experienced attorney will ensure that the insurance company cannot take advantage of you.
How Do An Attorney’s Trial And Negotiation Skills Impact A Personal Injury Claim?
Experienced personal injury attorneys work with the same insurance companies over and over, and they develop a relationship and rapport with the insurance adjusters. A reputation for honesty and credibility goes a long way when an insurance adjuster is deciding on a claim.
If they know that the attorney does not make frivolous claims and does not participate in any underhanded practices to artificially inflate medical bills, they are more likely to take that attorney seriously. The rapport between the attorney and the insurance adjuster can have a significant impact on the way the settlement negotiations proceed.
What Can I Expect From The Other Side Once A Claim Has Been Officially Filed?
Once the attorney files the demand letter, several things can happen. The insurance adjuster may agree with the calculations in the demand letter, and the settlement will be paid. Although this is the best possible scenario, it is rare that an insurance adjuster will agree to a settlement without any type of negotiation.
The insurance adjuster may present your attorney with a counteroffer, usually an amount that is substantially less than the requested amount in the demand letter. Although it is a lower amount, it may be substantial enough to merit serious consideration.
The insurance company can deny your claim immediately if the adjuster determines that it is without merit. This situation occurs when an individual has not been hurt in an accident, but still demands a large sum of money to compensate for the inconvenience. A reputable attorney will not file a demand letter in this type of situation, as it lessens his or her credibility with the insurance adjuster.
Most cases end up having a settlement conference, where the parties negotiate a settlement amount that is a compromise on both sides. If absolutely no settlement can be reached, a lawsuit will be filed, and the case will proceed to a trial.
What Factors May Cause My Claim To Go Into Litigation?
There are some cases that are so complex or have such unique issues that they cannot be settled. Perhaps one or both sides is being completely unreasonable and has unrealistic expectations of a settlement result. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases actually proceed to trial, because the costs and risks of trial often outweigh the potential benefits. Experienced insurance adjusters will usually be able to evaluate their financial risk depending on the strength of the plaintiff’s case.
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