Settlements vs. Lawsuits: How They Differ
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, after your health and well-being, your biggest concern is likely, how am I going to pay for all of this? When you are injured in an accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, the law states that you are entitled to be compensated for the damages caused by the negligent party. You often have two options when it comes to obtaining reimbursement for damages, (1) settling out of court with the other party and/or their insurance company, or (2) filing a lawsuit against those responsible. An experienced personal injury attorney such as the Law Offices of Brian Brunson will guide you through the process, but the decision is ultimately yours to make.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
When you’ve been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, the last thing you should do is attempt to deal with the insurance company on your own. Seeking the legal guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney is vital to ensuring you receive fair and adequate compensation for your losses. One of the first people you should call after your accident is a personal injury attorney. By retaining legal counsel early on, you can educate yourself on the process and bring peace of mind knowing you have someone on your side fighting for your best interests. A personal injury attorney will also be able to inform you in regards to how much total compensation you may be owed for things such as vehicle repair costs, medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Texas personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.
The Law Office of Brian Brunson focuses on severe motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury matters that can have a long lasting effect on you and your loved ones. Our personal injury firm takes an aggressive approach with skillful advocacy to ensure that every client receives justice and the appropriate compensation they deserve in a fair, timely manner.
After the Accident
In the initial stages following the accident, you will file a claim against the negligent party’s insurance company. Whether you did or didn’t suffer severe bodily injuries, the negligent party is responsible for the damages to your personal property. A personal injury attorney will assist you in preparing your statement regarding the accident, and if necessary employ investigators to seek information and witness testimony in more complicated or contested claims. Claims can become even more complicated if the opposing party was the driver of a commercial vehicle. At that point, the employing company of the negligent driver may also be liable. This is why you need a personal injury attorney on your side to not only deal with the insurance company, but any other parties involved who will have their best interests at hand, and not yours.
The Claims Process
There are a number of stages a personal injury claim may go through. The following is a breakdown of each stage and what’s involved.
The Investigation: After you file a claim against the negligent driver, their insurance company will initiate their own investigation into the accident. The insurance company will attempt to figure out who and/or what caused the accident. They may determine that it was the fault of their covered party, or they may attempt to place blame on someone or something else. Investigations can last weeks or even months depending upon the severity of the accident and the number of people involved.
Initial Settlement Offer: If the negligent party’s insurance company accepts responsibility for the accident, they will often present a settlement offer to the victim in order to resolve the claim as quickly as possible. This is where many people make the mistake of accepting the insurance company’s offer simply because they likely need the money. However, the insurance company’s initial settlement offer is often significantly less than the amount needed to remedy all of the damages stemming as a result of the accident.
Making a Counter Offer: If you’ve retained a lawyer to represent you, your attorney will inform you of the insurance company’s offer and advise you on the next steps. It is entirely up to you if you choose to accept the initial offer. Your attorney will work with you to determine the total amount of your losses. Chances are the best option at this point will be to make a counter offer. The offer and counter offer process may repeat itself several times until an agreed upon settlement amount is achieved.
Final Settlement: If a settlement is reached, the negligent party’s insurance company will issue a check to your attorney. Before you receive any funds, we will first pay any entities that have a legal right to financial compensation. These entities might include healthcare providers, investigators, etc. We will then deduct our agreed-upon fee for representing you and write you a check for the remaining balance of the settlement.
Litigation in Court: If a settlement cannot be agreed upon between the parties involved, we will file a lawsuit and the claim will be heard in a court of law. It can take months or even years to settle a claim in court. We want you to be knowledgeable and prepared for the process. If your case goes to trial, we will present your side to the court. Burden of proof must be demonstrated. After opening statements are heard, we will then present all of the evidence. This can include documentation and/or the testimony of bystanders or expert witnesses. Expert witnesses could include physicians, insurance or financial professionals, investigators, etc.
The opposing parties will then present their defense. The opposing party’s attorney may call forth witnesses and present evidence to support their argument against your claim. After both parties, the claimant and defendant present their evidence, they will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.
After witnesses have been cross-examined, each attorney will present their closing arguments. Closing arguments give the claimant and the defendant a final attempt to persuade the judge or jury to present a favorable outcome for their side.
Once this has concluded, the judge or jury will make a final determination if one, the defendant is liable for your injuries and/or damages, and two, the total amount of damages (money) the defendant must pay you.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
The Law Office of Brian Brunson focuses on serious personal injury, auto, truck and motorcycle accident cases throughout the state of Texas. We have been named “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” and have a 5-star, A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. Reach out to us today so we can discuss your case.
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