Don't Take It To Court: Personal Injury Compensation

Many people don't consider how the relatively long time period between an accident and the eventual court date can be so beneficial, particularly when you consider that you are likely in dire need of financial help. Personal injury cases, however, are more of a process than an event. This time lag can bring benefits to those seeking compensation from another driver's carelessness, at least when you consider how several components of the personal injury process hold the potential for a settlement offer.

Before you file suit

Your first important opportunity to be offered a settlement comes as the result of a letter sent to the other side, known as the demand letter. This letter explains why the other party is at fault, offers a summation of the evidence, provides some financial information about your losses, and demands a dollar amount. In most cases, this demand opens the door for negotiations. If you can both agree on a fair settlement amount, the case if over before it even gets filed in court.

Understanding pretrial actions

Many people think that trials proceed just like on television, where the accident, the lawsuit and the trial all happen in a week or so. Fortunately, that is not a realistic time line in real life, where the justice system actually requires that parties participate in a number of activities before the trial begins. These important activities are grouped together in a process called "discovery", and the discovery process happens with all types of cases, from personal injury to criminal cases.

The main purpose of discovery is to prompt each side to share information about the case with each other. You may be thinking that that cannot be correct; why would you do that? The discovery process paves the way for court to begin with as much information being shared as possible, which not only levels the playing field for both parties, but also gives you a few opportunities to be offered a settlement from the other side.

Three parts of the discovery process

The information sharing process includes:

1. Interrogatories: as you might guess by the name, these are question and answer documents for you and other parties to the suit complete

2. Document requests: again, this self-explanatory term allows parties to share information through paperwork, photos, videos, and computer files

3. The disposition: here, all parties get together and have a meeting where pertinent parties, including you, are subjected to questioning under oath.

Offers to settle

Once the other side gets a look at the evidence, the documentation and the testimony of all parties, you may well be the recipient of a settlement offer. In fact, this offer can come at almost any time, even if your trial has already begun. It may cheer you to know that most personal injury claims are settled in this manner, without having to set foot in the courtroom. Work with an auto accident attorney for more help.