Litigation is the process for handling disputes within the court system, as the American Bar Association (ABA) explains.
For personal injury cases, resorting to litigation means you and the defendant could not agree on a fair settlement amount within the case. While the litigation process can be complex, it can also help you get compensation for your injuries.
Why would a Personal Injury Case End Up in Litigation?
Typically, a personal injury case goes to litigation if the person filing the personal injury claim and the person or company they are filing the claim against cannot reach an agreement.
More specifically, your case may go to litigation or trial if:
- The initial offer from an insurance company is a low offer that does not reflect the damages you incurred and injuries you sustained
- Your personal injury lawyer requested an amount the insurance company is unwilling to pay
- The insurance company offers no settlement amount because they are confident they will win during litigation
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How Litigation Differs from the Negotiation Process
Before heading to litigation, your lawyer will try to settle with the insurance company or defendant’s lawyer by negotiating. The defendant’s lawyer may make offers, and your lawyer may reject them with counteroffers. Essentially, during negotiations, you have the option to continue to accept or reject settlement offers.
During litigation, a court will ultimately decide the outcome of your case and any award you receive.
Will Litigation Cost more than Negotiations?
Litigation may mean a higher cost than resolving your personal injury case out of court. This is because litigation can sometimes take months or even years to resolve.
Lawyer fees, court fees, and your personal costs to dedicate time and effort to the case can quickly add up during this time. However, if your personal injury lawyer works on a contingency-fee-basis, you will not owe them unless you win your case.
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Can Litigation make my Case Take Longer to Resolve?
Your case may take longer to resolve if it goes to litigation simply because you have to wait for the courts to determine the outcome of your case.
If your case is delayed for any reason, you will have to wait for a further court date. You will want to ensure that you file within your state’s statute of limitations, however, and a defendant’s lawyers may try many tactics to delay your case for this reason.
Factors that may Affect Your Litigation Process
Many factors may affect the outcome of litigation during your personal injury case. The following are just a few of these factors.
The Severity of Your Injuries
It may be true that more severe injuries receive larger settlements, as serious injuries may require long-term care and consequently higher medical costs.
However, some injuries may take their toll over time and cause lasting damage or pain. Your lawyer will work to present evidence that demonstrates the full extent of your injuries and how they have impacted your life to help ensure you receive fair compensation during litigation.
The Defendant’s Degree of Liability
A large part of the litigation process is determining liability. The defendant may try to push for litigation if they believe they can prove they were not liable for your injuries. It will be your personal injury lawyer’s responsibility to prove the defendant’s liability.
Whether You are Expected to Recover
If you experienced injuries that will affect your day-to-day life, such as your ability to work or take care of yourself, the court would likely take this into account when considering a settlement amount.
Understanding Your Legal Options in a Personal Injury Case
If you seek litigation to resolve your personal injury case, this does not necessarily mean you are ‘stuck’ in litigation. For example, with help from a lawyer from our firm, you may be able to settle before going to trial if this makes the most sense for you.
Knowing your legal options is important when considering how best to reach an outcome for your case, as is working with a lawyer who can listen to and communicate your legal needs.
Get Help with Litigation and Your Personal Injury Case Today
If you are ready to start your personal injury case, this does not mean the case will go to litigation or be complex or taxing. Let our law firm handle your case, so you can focus on your recovery.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are ready and willing to help you fight for compensation. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
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