When you have been injured in an accident as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, some decisions need to be made. One of those decisions is whether to pursue compensation for the damages that you incurred. The law allows you the right to pursue compensation for your damages, and a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer relies on may protect and invoke that right for you.
Claims and Lawsuits
After an accident, a victim has the right to file and proceed with a lawsuit anytime within the period prescribed by the applicable statute of limitations. Depending on what state the accident occurred in, that could be between one year and six years. We certainly don’t recommend waiting until the eve of the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit either. Witnesses can disappear, recollections can get fuzzy, and physical evidence can be disposed of or tampered with.
What is an out-of-court settlement?
In many cases, it’s possible for both parties to reach an agreement regarding a settlement payment, all without presenting the case in front of a judge or jury. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 95% of all personal injury cases filed are resolved by out-of-court settlements. There are several good reasons for this extremely high percentage:
- Legal fees: Each side in a personal injury lawsuit pays its attorneys one way or another. An injured plaintiff ordinarily pays pursuant to a contingency fee agreement. The defendant’s attorney is usually paid on an hourly basis by an insurance company. The longer that a case goes, the more money the insurance defense attorneys could bill.
- Court costs: The longer that a case goes, the more money the parties will be required to pay for court costs too. Those costs usually include: filing and service fees, court reporter fees for depositions, deposition transcript fees, statutory witness fees, medical records fees, and expert witness fees. In a case involving severe injuries, those court costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Those are usually advanced by the plaintiff’s attorneys, and they’re reimbursed from settlement or verdict proceeds. The defendant’s attorneys bear their own costs, and those are reimbursed by the insurance company.
- Risk: Even top trial lawyers encounter unpredictable developments during the course of a trial. For example, evidence might be excluded by the judge, the recollection of witnesses might get cloudy, and even the injured plaintiff might change his or her version of events. All of those developments can translate into considerable risk for both sides, and neither side knows what a jury might do with the case.
There are many ways that out-of-court settlement negotiations can be beneficial for injury accident victims. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury attorney today for more information about seeking compensation.