A client sitting down with a personal injury lawyer usually wants some idea of how things might turn out. No personal injury attorney can guarantee a particular outcome, but most cases land at one of the following four conclusions.
Ideally, the defense and the claimant agree that compensation is the right thing. The claimant's personal injury lawyer will assemble medical reports, evidence backing their argument, and notes on legal arguments to explain why their client deserves compensation. You will have between two and three years, depending on the state where you're pursuing legal action, to send this official demand notice to the defense.
When a defendant has an insurance provider, the insurer will appoint a claims adjuster. This person will investigate what happened to determine if the claim is valid. If so, the goal is to reach a reasonable settlement as quickly as possible. If not, the insurance company will likely reject the claim.
A self-insured or uninsured defendant will face the prospect of paying damages out of pocket. However, the process for a personal injury attorney is the same. They will investigate the case and send the defense a demand package. Just like the insurance company would, an insured party must decide whether to settle the case or reject it.
Going to trial is one of the least-likely scenarios. Insurance companies have a duty to settle all valid injury claims, and consequently, the vast majority of cases never go to trial.
Most trials are decided by juries, but there are some times when one of the two parties might ask a judge to decide. If the decider-of-fact concludes that you're entitled to compensation, the court will enter a judgment against the defendant. The defendant will then have to make arrangements to pay or face further legal action, such as garnishment of wages and liens on financial accounts and assets.
Your first thought might be that suing sounds a lot like going to trial. However, many lawsuits never go to trial. A judge may order the two sides to negotiate. Likewise, the discovery process that exposes evidence in the case may lead a defendant to quit fighting and settle.
Dropping the Case
While far from the ideal outcome, some cases are simply dropped. This can occur because there isn't enough money involved, the defense is too strong, or the claimant has decided to pursue compensation from a different party. Fortunately, this outcome is less common than the other three for legitimate cases.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney.
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