After an accident, bills have a tendency to pile up on people who are already suffering. Personal injury settlements are intended to make clients whole after life-changing events caused by another's negligence or intentional actions, providing the means to pay associated medical expenses, property repair costs, and other damages and losses. Often settlements are reached before a trial begins through negotiations between the involved parties. In this blog, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help answer your questions about how personal injury settlements work.
If you have questions or concerns about your potential personal injury case, give our personal injury lawyer a call today to set up an initial consultation. You can reach Randy Andrus and his dedicated team by calling 801-400-9860 or filling out our convenient and confidential online contact form here.
Step 1 – The Initial Consultation
After an incident resulting in personal injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you do not feel injured, you should see a doctor because serious injuries can show up after the adrenaline from the event passes. Once your health is stable, it's advisable to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah who can evaluate the merits of your case. Your lawyer will review your medical records, gather evidence, assess liability, estimate the value of your claim, and provide you with expert advice to help you go forward.
If you have legal questions and are ready to start the healing process, fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with our personal injury lawyer today.
Step 2 – The Start of the Case
Once your lawyer has assessed your case and gathered the pertinent evidence, he will draft a demand letter outlining the details of your claim, including the extent of your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other relevant damages. The demand letter will then be sent to the opposing party–typically their insurance company. This letter begins the negotiation process.
Step 3 – The Counteroffer and the Negotiations
Once the demand letter is received, the other side will review the claim and make their own evaluation. In many cases, the response letter from the opposing side will include a counteroffer. The counteroffer will often be far less than you deserve. This is where your personal injury attorney will step in to advocate for you. Negotiations often involve a series of communications between your attorney and the insurance company. Both parties may present supporting evidence, communicate with each other, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case. Through this process, they aim to reach a mutually agreeable settlement amount.
In this process, it is essential that you have a skilled attorney on your side. Insurance pros have teams of attorneys, and they negotiate with clients every day. Fortunately, the average person does not negotiate with insurance companies every day. Thus, insurance companies know accident victims are at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. As a result, victims who forego hiring a lawyer, unfortunately, often get the short end of the stick. It is highly recommended that you have someone on your side who understands the process and has your best interest in mind. Protect your interests today by scheduling an initial consultation before you ever speak to the insurance company.
Step 4 – Accepting a Settlement
If a settlement offer is presented and deemed acceptable, you and your attorney will carefully review the terms and conditions. It's essential to consider the full extent of your injuries, future medical needs, and long-term financial implications to ensure your settlement will actually cover the whole of your expenses so that you can recover to the fullest extent possible. After you accept a settlement offer, you waive your right to pursue further legal action against the responsible party.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court, so many clients never go to trial. Depending on the goals of your case, reaching a settlement is often the best-case scenario for all involved parties. Here are some reasons it is best to settle if the option is fair and available:
- Settlements are quicker. After a few weeks or months in negotiations (depending on the specific facts of the case), a compromise is reached. This saves the involved parties from having to go into a potentially lengthy and costly trial.
- You have more control. You and your attorney (and the opposing parties) have more control during settlement discussions. Once the case goes to court, it's out of your hands and left up to a judge or jury to decide.
- Everyone typically wants to settle. Insurance companies and defendants are more likely to want to settle. Just as it's risky for the plaintiff to go to trial because of its unpredictable and uncertain nature, it's risky for the other side for the same reasons. During settlement conversations, both parties have baseline numbers from which to negotiate. This is not true once the case has gone to trial – a judge could order the defendant to compensate a lot more, or a lot less, than the original settlement.
- Different motivations exist for different defendants. Defendants may also be more apt to settle out of court because a settlement, typically, does not require the admission of liability. Settlements can also be private, while trials are not.
- Trials can be expensive. The fees tend to increase rapidly when a case goes to trial. No one wants to have those calculated into the final damages.
Sometimes, depending on the case, just having a lawyer send a letter (step 2) is enough to reach a worthy settlement.
Sometimes Going to Trial Is the Best Option
Regardless of the many reasons to settle before a case goes to trial, sometimes an appropriate and fair amount of compensation cannot be reached. In this case, your lawyer may recommend that you take it to court. Whether or not a case goes to trial may also depend on the plaintiff's goals. Is the case just about getting the compensation you need and deserve, or is it about seeking deeper justice by way of a public trial and potential punitive damages?
If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will file a lawsuit and represent you in court. The legal process will involve presenting evidence, witness testimonies, and arguments to a judge or jury, who will decide the outcome of the case.
Our Utah Personal Injury Lawyer Has Your Back
After an injury, stress heightens. You need to heal, but you are also hit with the stress of financial and legal concerns. You do not have to go through this alone. Our experienced personal injury lawyer, Randy Andrus and his dedicated team are here to help you. You can rest assured that we will have your back throughout the entire process so you can focus on healing.
To schedule a consultation with our injury lawyer, call 801-400-9860 or fill out this convenient and secure online form here.
Our personal injury lawyer is located in Salt Lake City and serves the following areas:
Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah.
Our address is
299 S. Main St.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
The content on our website and blog is intended to provide general information to a general audience only. It is not intended to serve as legal advice of any kind. Every case is different, and it's important that you speak with a professional lawyer to understand your legal situation. We recommend that you set up an initial case review by calling Andrus Law Firm at 801-400-9860.