What does it take to resolve an injury claim without a trial?
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What does it take to resolve an injury claim without a trial?

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The art of negotiation isn't something many have mastered. It simply is not part of our day-to-day experience. When you walk into most retail operations (car dealerships might be the only exception), you expect to pay what the price tag says. Bigger market forces are supposed to dictate pricing and we usually expect sellers to make adjustments to remain competitive.

Market forces tend to play a limited role when gauging the overall economic impact of a vehicle crash. The cost of repairing or replacing your physical property is rather simple to assess. But if you've suffered physical injury in a crash, it's much more difficult to nail down what your recovery is likely to cost. Yet, more often than not, personal injury claims settle out of court. Obtaining optimal compensation requires that you know what you will need, for how long, and have the help of a skilled negotiator on your side.

Filing suit isn't always best

Aside from the immediate medical care that an injury victim needs, common post-crash activity includes the making of a settlement offer. It should come from the insurance company representing the negligent party. While it might seem generous, the first offer rarely serves the victim's best interests. The insurance company simply wants to close the case and the offer is the lowest it thinks the victim will accept. But that doesn't mean you dash out and file a lawsuit.

To be confident that your needs are met and rights protected, it makes sense to consult an experienced attorney to learn:

  • How strong your legal case is
  • The outcomes of similar cases, both through settlement and trial
  • What specific challenges trying the case might pose

The legal logistics are just one aspect. Other questions that deserve to be asked include:

  • How quickly can a settlement be reached?
  • Is the likely award from a trial going to be adequate for victim's needs after costs?
  • What are the long-term tax implications of any settlement?
  • Negotiating requires give and take. What are you willing to forego?
  • Are you willing to endure the publicity a trial could generate?

These can be delicate but are necessary questions to address as part of the review of any injury case.

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