Should I File a Lawsuit or Settle My Car Accident Injury Case?

With a serious injury claim, at some point the question must be asked and answered by the injured party: should he or she file a lawsuit, or settle? Is the injured party willing to settle the claim (generally with the at-fault party’s insurance company) or would they fare better by filing a lawsuit?

Most people want to resolve their case as quickly and painlessly as possible, but they also want it handled properly and to get the best result.

Speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)
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Understand the Stages in a Personal Injury Claim

Car accident injury claims go through several stages, which can be explained basically as:

  • Pre-suit demand and negotiations
  • Negotiations after filing of a lawsuit including mediation
  • Trial

Most serious accident injury claims are settled without the need to go to court for a trial. About 95-96% of personal injury lawsuits settle before trial (out of court) and about 4-5% of cases reach settlement during trial.

With these statistics in mind, it is highly likely your case will settle of out court. Still, you do not want to settle unless it is a good deal. Having an attorney known for going to trial and willing to go to trial if necessary is the key to getting the best deal in negotiations.

Getting a fair and just settlement — or jury verdict — is the end game, and is the reason a personal injury lawsuit is best executed with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer.

Understand How Insurance Affects Your Case

PIP coverage is no-fault insurance designed solely to deal with your own medical expenses when you are injured in an accident.

Someone can be covered with PIP yet not have any insurance to cover Bodily Injury (for those that they hit with their car) or Uninsured Motorist coverage (designed to cover someone hit by another car who does not have Bodily Injury Insurance).

The PIP claim is totally separate from a Bodily Injury claim. PIP does not have to be exhausted for Bodily Injury coverage to trigger. In other words, an injured person could make a BI claim on someone else’s insurance without ever using PIP coverage.

Please see our information on Florida Uninsured Motorist Insurance (aka UM) and Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (aka BIL or BI) to understand the tremendous role these insurance coverages have in your personal injury claim.

What factors affect car accident settlements?

When you meet with Kramer Law to discuss your situation, your attorney will review with you various issues that have bearing on the value of your case. This information enables us to explore your case further to determine the damages you may be entitled to recover.

Our attorneys will investigate:

  • What insurance is available
  • What evidence is available to prove your case
  • Did the actions of another party contribute to the accident or injury
  • Did you contribute to the accident or injury in any way
  • What are the extent of your injuries and the losses you have endured
  • What type of medical treatment has been required
  • Were you ever treated for this type of injury or problem before the accident or injury
  • What medical care and rehabilitative treatment will be required in the future
  • Are you able to work and earn income
  • If you cannot work, how long will you be unable to work
  • Did you sustain what is referred to in Florida as a “threshold” injury, meaning you have sustained serious, permanent damage or a loss of bodily function that limits the person’s ability to perform normally
  • What money damages are you entitled to?

Determining the worth of a case requires detailed record keeping and a thorough interpretation of your case information. A general estimate of your claim can only be established when our attorneys fully review your case.

Speak with an experienced Florida attorney at our firm today.
Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)
.

Settlement Negotiations

Your attorney will enter into negotiations with the insurer to attempt to reach a fair settlement. If the insurer’s offer is not satisfactory, or if the adjuster does not agree to what your lawyer has determined to be a fair settlement, a lawsuit may be filed against the insurer to pursue appropriate compensation.

The best way to approach a meritorious injury case is to assume you are going to trial. A good lawyer will use the pre-trial preparation period to build a case that ultimately prevails upon the opponent the resolve to settle for a fair and favorable amount.

After all, when you reject a personal injury settlement offer, in order to recover damages your case will be tried in court in front of a jury. An experienced attorney may have a good idea of a jury’s view of your case, but no attorney can know with 100% certainty what any particular jury will do.

The only gamble our client takes is that we are good attorneys – and that is a safe bet.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When neither side sees eye-to-eye and compromise cannot be reached, the next step is to file a lawsuit.

Once filed, your case is on the docket to be presented and argued in court in front of a judge and jury to determine what is fair and just compensation.

A lawsuit may be filed as a means to leverage negotiations to reach a favorable settlement during trial, but must be planned and prepared with every intention of trying the case all the way to a verdict.

Basic Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Discovery – This is the fact finding process during which each party obtains key information from the other side to establish the facts of the case. Opposing parties are able to request and review the other party’s documents and evidence, examine witness testimony and take oral depositions.

Motion – The defendant’s attorney may file a motion—a request to the court—asking for a ruling on a certain issue. There are two types of motions, dispositive and non-dispositive.

  • Dispositive motions can be a way to request the court to resolve some or all of the litigation before trial. The matter is “disposed of” and no longer open.
  • Non-dispositive motions are more procedural or deal with discovery issues. Most motions in personal injury cases are non-dispositive.

Settlement – Because many more car accident lawsuits settle than go to trial, a strong background in negotiations and the mediation process are tremendously important. An experienced attorney will leverage the solid case they have built for their client in order to recover a fair settlement prior to judgment.

Trial – Each side presents their evidence to a jury, which will either rule in favor of the plaintiff or for the defendant.

Mediation in Florida Injury Lawsuits

Mediation creates opportunity and a favorable climate for settlement. Mediation can be used at any time during a car accident case, not just in response to filing suit.

In most lawsuits, the judge will require mediation in a Florida car accident case in an effort to settle the matter before it can be tried in front of a jury. With a neutral, third-party mediator, you and your lawyer confer with the defendant and his/her lawyer, to discuss settlement possibilities.

If mediation is successful, the mediator drafts a settlement agreement for both parties to sign. The claim is settled and payment is made to the injured party.

Not all mediations end in agreement. If you reach gridlock, your lawsuit moves forward. Options to revisit settlement possibilities are still open during pre-trial and during trial.

Why Your Orlando Car Accident Attorney Should be a True Trial Lawyer

Most personal injury cases are settled without a trial. When a fair and appropriate settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, injury lawsuits are resolved in court.

Our Orlando law firm is comprised of highly skilled trial lawyers with many years of experience in both the mediation process and proving our client’s case to a jury.

We know the value of building a strong case and how to effectively negotiate with any insurance company. We are able to use leverage in our dealings with insurance companies and work hard to obtain top dollar in settlements.

File a lawsuit or settle? Consult with Kramer Law.

Come sit down with us and let us walk you through the process, so you can best understand your options in your specific situation. Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).

Altamonte Springs Office
999 Douglas Avenue
Suite 3333
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
407.834.4847
Downtown Orlando Office
37 N. Orange Avenue
Suite 500b
Orlando, FL 32801
407.339.0269
CALL 855-KRAMER-NOW