Have you ever wondered how a personal injury case is handled? How do attorneys decide on a settlement amount, and how do they communicate this to the other party? How are agreements reached, and how much does it cost to settle a case? These are all questions you may have if you are the victim of a personal injury. The process of settling a personal injury case is not simple, but understanding it can help you determine if your case is being handled properly and if you are recovering the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
The First Steps
In order to understand how a personal injury case is handled, think about a typical accident case. A car accident is a very common example of a personal injury matter, although there are, of course, some differences between auto accident cases and other types of personal injuries. However, most personal injury cases follow similar lines, so this is a good example to think of when you dissect the process of personal injury litigation.
When a person is injured in a car accident, often the first thing that happens is that he or she receives medical treatment. This might be at a hospital emergency room or through a doctor’s office. Once the patient has been diagnosed, short- or long-term treatment will follow. If, for example, the victim suffered a broken leg, there may be weeks of casts for immobilization, wheelchair or walker use, and physical therapy. It is likely that this injury will be painful, so the patient may be prescribed medication to manage the pain. Eventually, the doctor will finalize treatment, but there may be ongoing pain, or the victim may not recover 100 percent use of the limb.
Treatment for physical injury may not be the only cost involved in this accident, however. The victim may also have a damaged vehicle, leading to replacement or repair costs, as well as a rental car or other expenses which must be accounted for in the final settlement. Additionally, the victim will most likely have some lost wages, and may also have increased living expenses as a result of having to seek help for tasks he or she would normally do.
Finally, there are additional costs that may not be easily quantified. Victims may be entitled to payment for their pain and suffering, as well as for the impact on their families. These sums are discretionary and not easily calculated.
Add It All Up
Once a personal injury attorney has a grasp of what may be required in terms of settling a case, he or she begins dealing with the “other side.” This can involve taking depositions, conducting interviews, collecting medical records, and discussing outcomes with insurance companies or other attorneys. Once both sides have negotiated to their satisfaction, an acceptable settlement offer is reached. Of course, the victim has the right to refuse or accept such an offer.
In most cases, personal injury attorneys are paid through the proceeds of the settlement. This means that a good attorney will give the victim an accurate picture of his or her final recovery amount by deducting the attorney’s fees so that the victim understands the impact of any settlement offer.
If you have been the victim of a personal injury, contact Barber & Associates today. We are here to help you get the best settlement possible for your personal injury case.