Whether you were in a car wreck or suffered a slip and fall, you’re pretty badly injured. Since you were hurt through no fault of your own, you filed a claim for compensation.
When the other party’s insurance company doesn’t immediately settle up, you start to get nervous. Does this mean that you’re going to automatically end up in a trial.
Probably not. Here’s what you need to know:
The vast majority of claims are eventually settled through negotiation
While there are generally only two outcomes to a personal injury claim (settlement or lawsuit), there are a lot of steps between filing a claim and ending up in court. The vast majority of claims end up being settled before the trial begins.
What usually happens is that a personal injury claimant, through their attorney, starts with an informal claim for the monetary damages that they believe are appropriate. Then, the insurance company responds with a (much lower) offer that they believe is appropriate. Each side then spends some time trying to justify its position, while inching closer together toward a settlement figure.
It often takes a little hard consensus bargaining, but the two sides usually end up finding a figure they can both live with, and then the case is settled. There’s a lot of motivation on both sides to get to that place, since trials are stressful, time-consuming and expensive – and outcomes are uncertain. It’s cheaper and easier to settle.
If you are unable to come to an agreement with the other party’s insurance company, or there are questions about liability, then negotiations may stall and you may end up in a trial – but it’s hardly a foregone conclusion.
If you’ve been injured through another party’s negligence, don’t be afraid to pursue fair compensation for your losses.