Are we going to have to file a lawsuit for my car accident?

I had a new client ask: “Are we going to have to file a lawsuit for my car accident?  I don’t want the stress of having to go to trial.”

Surprisingly (or not, depending on your view), most cases settle.  Back in February ’09, I posted a statistic that “about 97 percent of civil cases are settled or dismissed without a trial.”

Mind you, this number doesn’t actually include the number of claims that are settled without a lawsuit actually being filed.  A high percentage of car accident claims are settled before a lawsuit is filed.  There’s even law firms and attorneys that will not file a lawsuit (trying cases is time consuming and demanding).  If they can’t get the case settled pre-suit, they refer their clients to attorneys willing to try cases (like us!).   I believe insurance companies facing attorneys that won’t “go the distance” will value those car accident claims much lower.  Insurance companies track opposing attorneys, and likely know how much certain firms will settle for.

Here’s a typical time-line of a car accident case:

  • Car Accident Occurs
  • ER Visits, Diagnostics, Followup Treatments, etc.
  • Property damage claim settled
  • Once medical treatment is completed or max medical improvement is reached: Our demand packet (summary of your case and offer to settle with all documentation) is sent to the insurance company
  • At this point, the insurance company will often offer to settle the personal injury claim for less than the case is “worth”
  • Settlement negotiations continue with the insurance company.  At this point the adjuster will eventually give their “final offer.”  Some times this is reasonable, sometimes not.
  • If the final settlement offer is unreasonable, and our client wants to keep going (some people want to “get it over with” even if the offer isn’t for the full value), we file a lawsuit.
  • A lot of insurance companies will increase their settlement offer at this point – even if the facts of the case haven’t changed.
  • We’ll have depositions and exchange discovery (interrogatories, etc.), and line up any doctors or experts needed.
  • Settlement negotiations and preparations for trial continue.
  • Sometimes we’ll have a mediation at this point to help get the case settled.
  • If settlement talks fall through, the case goes to trial.

Don’t delay the legal process if you have been a victim of a car accident and sustained severe injuries. Our car accident lawyers are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us online, or at 405-698-3040.