Many people approach the personal injury process with an either/or approach: either settle quickly or file a lawsuit. In reality, these choices are rarely this clear-cut. The lines between settlement and filing a lawsuit are often blurred, and the dance of negotiation may take some time. Here are a few facts about the lawsuit/settlement process from the personal injury attorneys at Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas. These attorneys have years of experience in negotiating cases and outcomes for personal injury matters such as car accidents, slip-and-fall cases, dog bites and medical malpractice cases.
THE COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY PROCESS
People may see the personal injury negotiation process as a series of clearly defined steps, but in reality, the process is much more of a “one step forward, two steps back” progression. When the process is put into motion, there are certain things that usually happen in a predictable order, but beyond that much of the process depends on the information unique to the case. No two cases are exactly alike.
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THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS
As an example, suppose a car accident victim comes into a personal injury attorney’s office with medical bills, documentation of lost time at work, and witness reports that show clearly that the accident was the other driver’s fault. In such a case, the attorney may attempt to move straight to the negotiation phase without filing a lawsuit. This is because the victim’s evidence is clear enough to support a settlement offer and probable reciprocation on the part of the insurance company. There might be a series of back-and-forth settlement offers until the two parties reach an agreement, but the process will probably be fairly short and no lawsuit will be filed.
THE LAWSUIT PROCESS
However, if the facts of the case are in question or the victim has suffered major injuries, the process will take much longer. The attorney may elect to file a lawsuit even if he or she does not believe that the case will end up in court. Nevertheless, it is important for the victim to protect his or her rights to file a lawsuit within the time period mandated by law. Further, the negotiation process in such a case may continue for a long time, with expert witnesses weighing in and many settlement offers exchanged. Such a case may or may not proceed to court, although most cases are settled before trial.
Contact the Las Vegas legal team at Bernstein & Poisson for more information about the personal injury process and how you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries.