Auto insurance companies are in the business of making money, so, generally speaking, they want to pay out as little as possible when resolving an auto accident claim. When the victim of a car crash requests compensation from an insurance company without the aid of an attorney, many insurance companies see the lack of representation as an opportunity to offer as small a settlement as possible. Most insurance companies understand that people will take a lower settlement if only to get their claim handled and get back to their lives.
By hiring a competent attorney, you are letting the insurance company know that you are in control of your claim. This normally results in insurance companies offering a fairer settlement with the goal of avoiding litigation. Further, if the initial settlement offer is unfair, an experienced personal attorney will have the resources and the knowledge to negotiate with the insurance company in pursuit of a better offer.
The truth is that the vast majority of auto accident cases taken by attorneys are settled before or during trial. This is because resolving a claim outside of court is often quicker and less expensive than trying a case to verdict and is generally less risky for both the plaintiff and defendant.
While not all automobile accidents warrant a lawsuit, you should definitely consider contacting an attorney if:
When settlement discussions begin often depends on the size and complexity of the auto accident case. If there were multiple victims or if the case appears to have split liability, chances are settlement discussions will take a little longer to begin.
Once an automobile accident lawsuit has been filed, both your attorney and the defenses attorney will begin pretrial investigations. This is known as the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys will begin gathering evidence and may solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, or request sworn testimony under oath, known as depositions. It is rare for insurance companies to engage in serious settlement negotiations before completing the discovery process.
In larger, more complex cases, such as lawsuits dealing with multiple drivers, company vehicles, or 18-wheelers, defense attorneys may wait for the plaintiff’s attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing settlement amounts. This is because expert witnesses can make or break a case. If a auto accident attorney is able to obtain expert witnesses who are knowledgeable and capable of providing compelling testimony, chances are the attorney has done the work necessary to make a valid case during trial.
In other cases, the defense attorney will not want to settle a case until they have filed a motion for summary judgment, also known as a motion to dismiss the case. If the court grants the motion to dismiss, it means the case is over; however, if the court denies the motion, a good personal injury attorney will see this as a potential point of leverage in future negotiations.
In some cases, insurance companies will simply refuse to offer a fair settlement. This is when you need a competent trial attorney.
Thomas J. Henry has more than 25 years of litigation experience, has tried numerous cases to resolution and has obtained multiple record-breaking verdicts. This is because Thomas J. Henry understands the importance of being ready and willing to go to trial and prepares every case as if it will be heard before a judge or jury.
Our attorneys are available to respond to auto accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices– we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.