[Transcript] When I meet with a personal injury client for the first time in a free no-cost personal injury consultation, one of the first questions I get every single time is “Am I going to have to go to trial? Am I going to have to testify in front of a judge and a jury and get a jury verdict?” And the answer is usually maybe, but it’s probably not very likely.
And that’s because the vast majority of personal injury cases ultimately end up settling out of court. So in the video here today, what I want to talk about is how do we get to out-of-court settlements. In personal injury cases. To start, I want to talk about a very, very general timeline of a personal injury case, to describe what time periods a personal injury case might settle in. If someone comes to us initially, and we have time left on the two-year statute of limitations, which means that you have two years to either file suit or settle your case from the date that you are injured. If we have time within that statute of limitations, in some cases, it makes sense to put together a demand package. That’s a demand letter that describes your case and puts our argument forward as to what your case is worth and why the insurance adjuster on the other side should settle. If we’re able to gather the information that we need in that amount of time and put together that demand package and send it to the insurance adjuster, we have the ability to negotiate, ideally, a settlement before we’d even have to file a lawsuit at all.
However, if we don’t have that time or your case has specific facts that lend themselves better to having to file suits sooner rather than later, or we don’t have time within the statute of limitations to go through that demand process and we need to file suit, we’re going to have to actually go through litigation to recover something for you, for the injuries that you’ve received.
But once again, even though we filed the lawsuit, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your case has to go to trial, they can still settle short of trial. So if we have either not been able to settle your case before we’d file suit and we’ve had to file suit in some way or another, we go through a process where we file a complaint, it gets answered. We go through the discovery process, which I’ll talk about in more detail in a separate video, but once all the sides believe that they have all the relevant facts that they need about liability, about causation, about the total amount of damages. Then we typically will see the parties go to what’s called mediation. And mediation is how the vast majority of personal injury cases that have had to file suit actually get settled short of having to go to a jury trial.
What mediation is, is the coming together of both parties in one location with a third party, neutral attorney that is a trained civil litigation mediator to try to resolve the case that day. Typically, mediation starts with what we call a joint session. A joint session is where all the different sides are in one conference room and the plaintiff goes up first to make a short presentation as to the strengths of their case and what they believe the weaknesses of the defense case to be. Obviously, the defense gets their opportunity after that, to go up and talk about what they think the strengths of their case are and the weaknesses of the plaintiff’s case is. Ultimately, the parties are able to hear all of that and then break up into separate rooms.
The mediator then goes back and forth between both rooms attempting to try to get a compromised settlement that day. So when we look at a settlement, that usually means it’s not your absolute best day in court, but it’s also not your worst day in court. Just like on the defense side, it’s never going to be their best day in court and not their worst day in court. We’re looking to meet at a compromise somewhere in the middle because going to trial is risky. You might have a jury that believes you’re more at fault than what you think you are, that might not believe that your damages are causally related to the liability part of the case, or might just not think your damages are worth as much as you think that they are.
To go to trial can also be very expensive. We typically have to pay doctors to come in to talk about what the injuries are, how they’re related to the crash or other incident in which you were injured, and are obviously just inherently risky for a plaintiff, but also for the defendant. So in a mediation, we’re trying to take care of some of those risks and not incur some of those expenses, to ultimately do what we’re trying to do overall, in your case, that’s to maximize the amount of recovery that we’re able to get for you. The recovery that we’re hoping is going to put you back on your financial feet and get you back to your normal.
Because here at BB&C, with our team of experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys, we’re here for you and here for life, whatever that might bring.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.