How to Settle Your Personal Injury Case

By | January 21, 2011

Having a personal injury case in the first place can feel like a big burden. Once you’ve been victimized in some way, you have to find a lawyer, you have to deal with that lawyer, and you have to worry about many aspects of your life you weren’t worrying about before: issues like making income, handling medical expenses, and carrying out the basic logistics of your lifestyle suddenly come to the forefront.

In other words, a personal injury case can be tough sometimes. The good news is that a strong case can yield considerable dividends that compensate you justly for the kind of pain you’ve undergone. But before you start daydreaming about a dramatic testimony in front of a jury and a big, flashy trial, you have to realize that most of these cases are actually handled another way.

They’re settled out of court.

But this isn’t bad news. For a lot of people with personal injury cases, a settlement is not only a handy solution because of the money offered by the defendant, but because a settlement is much more convenient than the troubles of going through the legal system. It can be a shorter resolution to the case and therefore cause a lot less headaches for you, your family, and especially your lawyer.

That’s why we’re going to take the time here to talk about personal injury settlements, and not only why you may want one, but how you can go about achieving one. Let’s get started and focus on a few strategies that can really help you out.

1. Find a lawyer who’s used to working with insurance companies and other common defendants. In many cases, you’ll be dealing with an insurance company – especially if you’re talking about personal injury cases. Hiring a lawyer who’s not only used to working with companies like that – but also knows many of the people who work there because of this experience – can really be a revelation for someone who’s never seen how cases work before. You’d be surprised just how many cases are settled out of court because a lawyer was able to agree to a settlement with a company like an insurance company. In many cases, the end result is good for both parties.

Finding a lawyer who can do this for you is often as easy as finding a lawyer with good personal injury experience – the kind of lawyer you should be looking for anyway. These lawyers have often built up a basic network of contacts in the community and understand not only how a settlement goes down, but what the best way to go about handling it is. A good lawyer will also be able to advise you on whether or not you should accept a settlement payment, and once you’ve come to that point, it’s often a simple process of you saying yes to the entire deal.

Remember that a settlement can really be good news for you, because it means a flat amount of money – or other similar concessions – that not only award you for damages, but decrease the amount of time it took to receive that award. Going through a jury can force a larger award, yes, but sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice that money because you gain so much more in time. And if a settlement is really your only way of getting anything for sure, it’s often the best decision.

2. Sue the right people. How often do settlements get shot down because the case isn’t there? You’d be surprised at that number too. If you don’t have a good lawyer, you might find yourself suing the wrong people. A lawyer listening to all the wrong people can often employ the wrong strategies, attack the wrong people, and generally “mess up” a case as well as a personal injury case can be messed up. If you’re not getting settlement offers, you’re probably not suing the right people – or you don’t have much of a case in the first place.

You have to be sure that your case is solid enough that there are some “right people” to sue in the first place. In some cases, there won’t be any of these “right people.” An attorney will be able to help you discern the answers to these questions, so don’t get turned off by this process. But understand that a case is not only about what has happened, but who’s been involved with what happened and the ramifications those facts have on the overall case.

3. Build a good negotiation relationship with the other party. This is often the lawyer’s job, but it’s important for you to participate: at the very least, get out of your lawyer’s way. Try not to alienate anyone – even if you feel angry about the facts of your case – and focus on getting the best reward possible for what you’ve gone through in your personal injury case. A lawyer’s job will be to hold effective negotiations with the other party, but there’s no reason you can’t facilitate this – even if it simply means keeping quiet.

If you want to settle your personal injury case, you may often find that it’s easier than you thought. Working with a good lawyer, however, who truly understands your options will be essential to getting the most out of the case as is possible.

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