When it comes to settling a personal injury case, a lawyer can be an invaluable asset who can help to maximize the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. Dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters is difficult and tedious, and it is not a good idea to go it alone. Insurance companies, generally speaking, are not interested in doing the right or fair thing for you. Rather, their primary focus is on settling your case for as little money as possible. This allows them to minimize their payouts and keep as much of their money in-house as possible. After all, the insurance companies do not become multi-billion-dollar businesses by paying out large personal injury settlements to compensate you for damages.
It takes a special skill set of knowledge and legal expertise to be able to negotiate with insurance adjusters and obtain the maximum settlement value for a case. In some instances, the insurance company will not even take a personal injury claim seriously until a complaint is filed with the court system. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf and work towards obtaining a favorable settlement in your case.
Initial Settlement Offers – What You Need to Know
Once a personal injury claim is filed with the insurance company, adjusters sometimes place an initial settlement offer on the table in order to settle your case cheaply and dismiss it. These initial settlement offers are usually far less than what your case is actually worth and are not worth accepting. Moreover, appearing overly anxious to settle a personal injury case signals to the adjuster that any settlement amount will do. The adjuster will then be far less likely to raise the settlement offer later.
A favorable settlement offer usually takes several rounds of negotiations. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf in an attempt to obtain a higher settlement offer. If necessary, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system, in order to provoke a reaction from the insurance company. In most cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit lights a fire under the insurance company’s feet, so to speak, and forces the adjuster to take your case seriously. In more complex cases, a personal injury lawyer can oversee the discovery and litigation processes and better position your case to settle favorably.
It is important to understand that merely filing a legal complaint with the court does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial. Oftentimes, though, filing a complaint is a necessary first step to maximizing the settlement value of your personal injury case.
Knowing Where to File a Case to Maximize its Settlement Value
Even if you hope to settle your personal injury case and not take it to trial, a personal injury lawyer can help you decide where to file your case. Believe it or not, the location (or venue) where your case is pending has a significant effect on the ultimate value of your case – and on whether or not you should accept a pending settlement offer or risk going to trial.
Personal injury lawsuits cannot be filed just anywhere. In most cases, a lawsuit may only be filed in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred or where the defendant resides or carries on regular business. Some additional rules apply to corporate defendants who conduct business anywhere in the jurisdiction and for cases where there are multiple defendants. Oftentimes, a particular claim could be filed in various jurisdictions. An experienced lawyer can help determine whether there is a benefit to filing in one jurisdiction over another. Some of the reasons it may be better to file a claim in a certain place include higher caps on damages, the “plaintiff-friendliness” of a given community, or state law, just to name a few.
Wrapping up Your Personal Injury Settlement and Concluding Your Case
The truth of the matter is that very few personal injury cases end up in court. Most are resolved through the victim and the insurance company reaching a settlement. It is important to note that the process does not end the moment an insurance company makes a favorable settlement offer and you decide to settle your personal injury case. There are several steps which you must take prior to finalizing your case. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with those steps, including:
- Signing a settlement release of all claims – A release of all claims basically states that your case is settled and that you can no longer file a personal injury claim arising out of the same accident or injuries. A personal injury lawyer can explain all of your legal rights prior to signing off on the settlement release. Once you sign an insurance company’s settlement release, your case is over and will not go to trial.
- Paying off your medical bills – Once you decide to settle a case, you may have outstanding medical bills related to your accident – and which must be paid off. A personal injury lawyer can try and obtain some bill reductions and make sure that your open bills are paid promptly.
- Paying off health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid liens – If a private health insurer, Medicare, or Medicaid pays off all or a portion of your medical bills, they will most likely assert a lien against part or all of your recovery obtained via personal injury settlement. A personal injury lawyer can try and obtain a lien reduction and ensure that all of your outstanding liens are paid off promptly.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
A Chicago personal injury lawyer can streamline the settlement process for you. At the law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C., our attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not recover anything unless you recover money by way of settlement, alternative dispute resolution, or trial.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Chicago, Illinois personal injury lawyer, please call us today at (312) 924-7575> or contact us online.