If you’ve been injured in an accident, your bills can pile up before you know it. You want to receive fair compensation, but worry about the intentions of the other parties involved in your accident.
What if they attempt to lowball you or delay payment? Should you get help from a personal injury attorney? Will that just make things move more slowly?
How can you balancing paying off your bills as soon as possible with making sure you get the compensation you need and deserve to properly recover?
In short, you have to know what you’re getting into. The best way to make sure that you receive a fair and just settlement amount is to work with an experienced North Carolina injury lawyer. But the timeline and process may be different depending on the type of injury you suffered, the other parties involved, and additional factors.
Most of the time, your attorney will be able to negotiate a fair settlement in a relatively speedy manner. Sometimes, however, going to trial is the only way to receive the compensation you deserve.
In this post we will outline the most common personal injury claims that lawyers and insurance companies see, what can happen if claims go to trial, and how often claims go to trial.
Every case is unique, but hopefully you can be more comfortable knowing what is likely to come once you file your claim.
Common Personal Injury Claims
- Car Accident Claims: Car accidents are the most common cause of personal injury claims in the United States. They cause people to rack up big medical bills, and there are many ways negligence can come into play in a car accident claim – distracted driving, driving under the influence, not wearing a seat belt, and so on.
- Medical Malpractice: If someone is injured or sick and receives improper care, they can sue for medical malpractice within our state’s statute of limitations. You have one year after discovering you were the victim of medical malpractice to sue for damages. If you discover medical malpractice immediately after it was committed, you will have three years to file a claim.
- Slip and Falls: A large number of personal injury cases result from a slip and fall Suffering an injury on the property of a neighbor or a business allow you to file a claim against the owner. Lack of maintenance, communication, or safety precautions will help you win a slip and fall case.
What Trial Could Mean for Your Claim
Settling out of court eliminates a lot of unknowns that can arise if you take a case to trial. Here are several reasons that some parties prefer to settle without having to go to trial:
- Public Knowledge: If you or any other parties in the case have a public profile, you may want to keep the issue private and settle out of court. This is especially of lawsuits that involve defective products or the reputation of someone in the public spotlight. Unwanted media attention could bring extra stress and provide permanent evidence of negligence in the future.
- Time and Money: Simply put, settling out of court is faster and less expensive than going to trial – especially if that trial drags on. If your lawsuit is against a large corporation, dragging out the process actually may be a cornerstone of their strategy against you, because they know they have the deep pockets necessary to handle it, while most regular people don’t.
- Risks Involving a Jury: You do not know who will be on the jury when you take a case to court. If they are especially sympathetic, or especially not sympathetic, they may award more or less damages to the plaintiff. Insurance companies often push to settle out of court for this reason, and a skilled injury lawyer can often use this to your advantage.
- Contributory Negligence Ruling: North Carolina has strict contributory negligence laws in place. This means, if you are to be found by a jury to be even slightly at fault for any negligence that could have caused your injury, your case will be dropped and you will not receive compensation.
The Reality of Personal Injury Lawsuits Going to Trial
The bottom line? Most claims are settled without going to trial. In fact, it is estimated that only 2-4% of personal injury claims actually end up going through a trial.
Why? Well, just look at the reasons above. Typically, both parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit have an investment in settling without going to trial. And those are just a few of the factors that lead cases to be settled!
Of course, this does not mean a trial is impossible. You should do what is most appropriate in your case to ensure that you receive proper compensation. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer today for your options, settlement predictions, and expert advice.
About the Author:
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.