If you have been injured in any type of accident, whether it was a slip-and-fall or car collision, one of the first things you should do after receiving medical treatment for your injuries is consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your options. These options typically include attempting to negotiate your claim with an insurance company (yours, the person that injured you or both) and filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover the damages that you suffered.
Often times, your attorney will file a lawsuit to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are adequately compensated. However, the odds of your case actually going all the way to trial are slim. This is because the majority of personal injury cases settle outside of court as the result of an agreement reached during your settlement conference. Most of the time, courts require parties to engage in a settlement conference in an attempt to eliminate the need for costly and time consuming litigation of your claim. Here's how the typical settlement conference works.
First, you agree to meet with the insurance company and/or the person that injured you at a specified location. Your attorney will join you, and the lawyers representing the insurance company and/or the other individual will also be present. However, you will likely have little to no contact with the other parties or their attorneys. Rather, a neutral third party mediator will communicate with you and your attorney.
Once all the parties (with their attorneys) are separated into different rooms or areas, the mediator will spend time with every party to facilitate a mutually agreeable settlement. Your attorney will have provided a statement of your case to the mediator in advance, and the attorneys for the other parties involved will have also done the same.
As the plaintiff in your personal injury lawsuit, the other parties will make settlement offers which will be communicated to you through the mediator. You will then discuss whether to accept or reject these offers with your attorney, based on the facts of your case and damages you need or would like to recover. Every time you reject an offer, the mediator will go back to the other parties to communicate your rejection and indicate why you have done so. Then, the mediator will come back to you with another offer—which may be higher or lower than the one you rejected—and communicate whatever facts the other parties stated surrounding the new offer.
This process will continue until you either accept one of the offers presented, or one of the parties requests to terminate the settlement negotiations because it seems an agreement will not be reached. When this occurs, the mediator will sign a paper stating that negotiations took place and resulted in an impasse (no mutual agreement). Your case will then proceed with litigation, usually to trial.
While settlement conferences can be time consuming and tedious, they are typically beneficial. Because personal injury defendants and even large insurance companies prefer to avoid the time and expenses associated with trials, a favorable settlement is usually reached. However, even if one is not, your attorney will have gained valuable information through the negotiations as to the facts of the case, the specific perspectives of the other parties involved and any legal theories they may be considering as defenses to your lawsuit. This will better prepare you for trial or, enable your attorney to better advise you on whether to accept a deal or not.
If your loved one has been injured as the result of someone else's negligence or reckless conduct, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal, to assist you in determining whether a lawsuit is in your best interests. Our attorneys will evaluate how much your claim may be worth and will be by your side through every step of the way – including your settlement conference.
For a free consultation, contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 647-4511 or visit us online.