One of the most common questions our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys and Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys get in injury consultations is whether your case will settle or have to be litigated. Because our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers get this question so often, we thought that we’d write about it here. The short answer is that every personal injury case is unique, and there is no way to guarantee what personal injury cases will settle and what personal injury cases will go to litigation. However, that doesn’t really tell you much, so below is a list of six factors that will influence whether your personal injury claim will settle or be litigated.
If you have any questions on your personal injury case, you can contact our Durham Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Injury Attorneys free of charge by calling at (888) 820-5885 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Durham Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Injury Lawyers are willing to answer your questions for free with no obligations (you don’t have to hire us, just call or email us and we are happy to give you some pointers).
- Liability – The most crucial aspect in determining whether your personal injury case will have to be litigated is whether the liability is clearly adverse to the other party. If the other party, or his or her insurance company, is disputing liability, then there is a significant chance that you will have to litigate. This is because oftentimes when an insurance company is denying or contesting liability, the insurance company will offer you nothing for your injuries. If you are offered nothing for your injuries, you are left with no option other than to file a lawsuit. If liability has been disputed in your accident, please contact one of our Durham Liability Attorneys or Greensboro Liability Attorneys for ideas on how to fight the insurance company.
- Medical Treatment and Medical Records – Once you have proven that the other party is liable, the next aspect of your case most hotly contested is your medical treatment and your medical records. Every aspect of your medical treatment will be scrutinized, and disputes over the reasonableness of your decisions can lead to litigation. If you want to be able to settle your case, it is super important that you seek reasonable medical care as soon as possible (if you are feeling pain at the accident scene, go by ambulance to a hospital). You also need to be certain not to miss any of your medical appointments (this can be interpreted to indicate that you were no longer injured or were not taking your treatment seriously). Also, be sure to be totally honest with everyone with whom you speak while obtaining medical care. In summary, to avoid unnecessary litigation and obtain a fair settlement you need to be sure that there is as little as possible to dispute about your medical treatment and medical records. If you have questions about how to read your medical records, our Durham Car Accident Attorneys or Greensboro Car Accident Attorneys are willing to field your questions and give you some pointers.
- Amount of Property Damage – Even though the severity of damage to your car/vehicle/truck/motorcycle does not always match the severity of injuries to the occupants, it is something that insurance companies put a lot of weight into. As a result, if you were in an accident that involved very little damage to your car, vehicle, truck or motorcycle, then the likelihood that you will get an unreasonable settlement offer is pretty high (which means you’ll be litigating). On the other hand, if the damage to your car, vehicle, truck or motorcycle was extremely high, the insurance company is likely to take your case more seriously and offer a fairer settlement. In either event, be sure to obtain a lot of photos of the damage to your vehicle, the damage to any other vehicles, the accident scene, your injuries, etc. If you have property damage that you need to document, give one of our Durham Auto Accident Attorneys or Greensboro Auto Accident Attorneys a call and we’ll give you some ideas on how to photo document your case.
- Unlikeable Defendant – If the person that caused your injuries is unlikeable, the insurance company may offer you more money to avoid having to have a Judge or Jury render judgment on him or her. Defendants can be unlikeable for a bunch of reasons, such as (a) under the influence of drugs or alcohol, (b) fled the scene after seeing you were injured, (c) has a long criminal record and driving record, etc. The more unlikeable and unsympathetic the defendant is, the more likely that the insurance company and its defendant will want to avoid a trial and will offer you a fair settlement for your injuries.
- Likeable Plaintiff – Next to having an unlikeable defendant, it is important to have a likeable plaintiff. A plaintiff can become liked for many reasons, such as (a) involved in a well-perceived occupation such as police officer or firefighter, (b) involved in community service projects, (c) a plaintiff that has a compelling, moving story about how the injury has adversely affected his or her life, etc. The more believable, truthful, sympathetic and likeable the plaintiff, the more that the insurance company and/or its defendant will prefer to avoid a trial.
- Severe Injuries – This one is obvious, but the more serious and permanent your injuries are, the more likely your case is to settle. Serious and permanent injuries are more likely to cause lifelong pain, suffering, disfigurement, etc. Serious and permanent injuries are going to have a higher likelihood of drawing sympathy from a Judge or Jury, and of drawing contempt towards the defendant. As a result, insurance companies and defendants are more likely to offer a fair settlement rather than risk a trial where the award is unknown and may be significant.
For more information about the merits of your case and the likelihood of it settling, please take advantage of our free consultations and call one of our Durham Accident Attorneys or Greensboro Accident Attorneys. If you have any questions at all you can get them answered free of charge with a phone call (888-820-5885) or email (email@example.com) to one of our Durham Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Injury Lawyers.