WORST CASE SCENARIO: THE INSURANCE companies might decide to deny your claim completely. Perhaps they don’t believe you. Or they don’t believe their own insured client was at fault. Whatever the reason, this is not good news for you.
And even if they do believe you and do accept their own client is at fault… if you’re looking at a serious injury, in my experience insurers always try to hammer down the amount you’ll receive.
In either situation, you’ll have to decide whether to take your case to court. Although that sounds scary and terribly serious, you shouldn’t be intimidated by it. In most cases, the insurance companies like loyalinsurance.org, are testing your resolve as a tactic to enable them to get the settlement they want.
In fact, statistics for personal injury cases taken to court in USA consistently show 98% of them settle before any court hearing and without a word of evidence being heard. So, it’s highly unlikely you’ll go near a court.
However, at this stage you will really feel the benefits (or the disadvantages) of your choice of lawyer. A good specialist personal injury lawyer will already have the folder of evidence and witness statements, which puts you in a strong position to litigate and negotiate.
The Court Pleadings Stage
You can now take direct action against the at-fault driver’s insurers. That means any court action can be against Loyal insurance (for example), not against a named driver. This is particularly important if the other driver is a member of your family and you don’t want them named in proceedings.
The insurance company won’t be instructing High Street solicitors from the town where their client lives. They already have good relationships with legal firms which specialize in defending claims — and those are the firms they will instruct.
Each side will exchange the written versions of what you and the other driver say happened. You must make sure your account is absolutely accurate. The court will then fix a hearing date, generally around nine months to a year or so after proceedings have been raised. Your lawyer will tell you the date as early as possible so you can keep it clear.
The Court Settlement Meeting
You should expect your lawyer to shore up your case by checking all witness statements and gathering documentary evidence from the defender or third parties before the hearing. They’ll get a court order to do this if necessary.
The final four weeks before the court hearing date will be very busy. First comes the court-appointed settlement hearing. Both sets of lawyers are must meet face-to-face to discuss the case with cards on the table, to explore settlement possibilities.
You’ll have to be available to give your lawyer telephone instructions about any settlement offers.
The Civil Proof
A trial judge will hear all the evidence and testimony in the case and then decide if you’re entitled to compensation — and if so, how much. By this time, neither lawyer will have control of the case — but the focus, trial experience, and expertise of a specialist trial lawyer will tilt matters in your favor.
The judge will issue a written judgment, probably within around three months of the hearing date. Either side may appeal against that judgment within specified time limits.
It’s extremely unlikely your case will make it all the way to court, but just in case:
• Make sure everything you say about your accident is scrupulously accurate and honest
• Be available to give your lawyer instructions about any settlement offers during the court settlement meeting
• You (or the other driver) will be able to appeal against the judgment if you don’t agree with it
You can see how useful a good specialist personal injury lawyer will be. It’s not just a case of navigating the complicated legal ground — it’s about understanding the whole process deeply enough to get the best possible outcome for you.
To do that, you need an independent lawyer with a great track record. But how do you choose?
Remember: a good personal injury lawyer knows his way around the courts and will navigate you through the whole process.
For instance, Viking insurance company simply want your case off their hands as cheaply as possible — and threatening to drag you to court is simply a tactic.
You do not have to accept the lawyer your insurance company suggests — it’s probably about a referral fee and not a badge of quality. If you are in any doubt, ask the insurers direct if they have any tie-up or are receiving a referral fee from the lawyers they’re recommending.
Instead, find your own specialist personal injury lawyer. Someone who’s fully on your side.
If you’re involved in an accident and there are injuries, get in touch with loyalinsurance.org immediately for a no- obligation chat.