If you’re like most people, you may think that you only need an attorney if you plan to go to court. After all, that’s what personal injury lawyers do, right? When someone’s carelessness causes an injury and you decide you need to sue that person to get back the money you’ve lost, you call an attorney to file your case with the courts.
Right? Well, actually … that’s not usually how it works. The surprising fact is that the vast majority of personal injury cases settle without involving the court system. This may come as a relief if you’ve been injured in an accident.
Insurance Companies Prefer to Settle out of Court
Insurance companies are often seen as the enemy in a personal injury case. While your interests and those of the insurance company are certainly at odds with one another, insurance companies are not trying to be evil. It’s not personal—it’s simply good business for them to try to reduce their expenses, which includes the amount they pay on claims.
Keeping Expenses Low
Going to court is costly and time-consuming. This can be a huge expense for insurance companies, which is why they’re usually interested in avoiding this step and coming to an agreement on compensation. Although the first offer is generally less than the true value of your case, an insurance adjuster is usually authorized to pay a higher amount, especially if the alternative is to settle the dispute through the court system.
The Value of Your Case
Insurance companies have formulas, which they use to decide what they’ll be willing to pay on your claim. They have investigators and attorneys working to determine the maximum amount they’ll willingly pay, as well as the minimum amount they think you’ll accept—which in some cases may be zero; a full denial of your claim. An insurance company’s first settlement offer is usually much less than the amount they’d actually be willing to pay for your injuries.
The best way to level the playing field may be to work with an experienced car accident lawyer. Insurance companies know that if an attorney gets involved, they’re likely to have to pay more on the claim. Remember, they don’t want the case to go to court any more than you do; they may be willing to pay more in order to avoid the expense and delay of litigating the case.
Negotiating the Best Possible Settlement
Knowing that neither party wants your case to proceed to trial, you may decide to negotiate for a higher settlement rather than accepting the insurance adjuster’s first offer. The insurance adjuster has only one job: to reduce as much as possible the cost of paying your claim. Because of the time, expense and uncertainty involved in litigation, a wise adjuster will often be open to paying a higher settlement than the initial offer.
A claims adjuster is also likely to agree to pay more if an attorney represents the injured victim. By working with a lawyer, you’re sending the message that you know your rights and are willing, if necessary, to file a lawsuit in order to protect those rights.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Arguably, the most little-known fact about personal injury law is this: you don’t have to file a lawsuit in order to benefit from the services of a caring, experienced personal injury attorney. In fact, choosing the right lawyer can help you get the full compensation you deserve, often without ever having to appear in court.
Sometimes, filing a lawsuit may be the best answer for you. If that turns out to be the case, your lawyer will use his or her knowledge and experience to inform you of all your options, prepare your case for court and stand at your side throughout the process.
Do you need assistance after an injury? Call our experienced car accident attorneys today for a free consultation: 1-800-842-8462