Are there alternatives to going to court?
- March 29, 2017
If you are a victim in a personal injury case, you might be looking for ways to be compensated for your medical bills and other costs that are associated with the accident. However, you might not want to deal with a long and drawn-out court case, especially if you are recovering from an injury and aren’t feeling your best and if you are trying to get your compensation quickly so that you can go ahead and cover your bills and expenses. Luckily, many insurance companies do not want to go to court either, since it can be costly for them. This means that you do have a few other options that you and a lawyer can look into, depending on the details of your case.
Negotiating a Settlement
First of all, you should know that depending on your case, you might not have to do anything at all in order to receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. The insurance company might get up with you or your lawyer and make an offer before the case goes any further. This often happens because insurance companies want to handle these cases as quickly as possible, and they know that many people will take the first settlement offer without fighting for more, especially if they are not represented by a lawyer or if they really need the money.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the first settlement offer might be fair, and you might choose to take it. In many cases, however, the first settlement offer is quite low. You will need to take a good look at your expenses related to the case before taking a settlement, since you generally will not be able to ask for any more money after signing the dotted line and accepting the money, even if you find out later that your medical bills are going to be much more expensive.
Working with an attorney before taking a settlement offer is always a good idea. This is because a good attorney generally has a pretty good understanding of how much money is typically offered in these cases and can give you an idea of whether or not a settlement is fair.
Mediation is a good option for you and your attorney to look into if you want to avoid court, and it’s available for free in many counties. With mediation, you and the opposing side will sit down with a neutral party to discuss the specifics of the case and to try to come to an agreement of some sort. You can do this on your own, but you should know that the other party will generally have at least one attorney on its side, so you may want to be represented as well.
One way to think of arbitration is as a mini trial. Similar to in a court trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments, so you will probably want to hire an attorney to help you. However, you will not have to worry about a judge and a jury. Instead, the case will be heard by a neutral arbitrator.
If you are currently scheduled to go to court for your personal injury case, you might end up being scheduled for a settlement conference, which will typically happen right before the scheduled court date. This will give the opposing side a final opportunity to provide you with a settlement offer, and you and your attorney can choose to either take the settlement and skip the trial or take your case to court.
As you can see, even if you are dreading the idea of going to court for your personal injury trial, you do still have options. If you talk to an experienced personal injury attorney, he or she can talk to you about these different options and can help you with each step of your case. You might find that you are able to get the compensation that you deserve without ever stepping foot into a court room, which can be ideal for many and might be the best option for you and your personal injury case as well.