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Should You Negotiate a Personal Injury Claim or File a Lawsuit? (Ep.3)

hello today we're going to talk about

should you negotiate a personal injury

claim or file a lawsuit

imagine you were injured in a car

accident caused by someone else you have

hospital and doctor bills costs of

medications bandages and continuing

therapy bills you're hurt you can't work

the pain you suffer continues daily what

do you do should you file a lawsuit

against the at-fault driver or do you

file a claim and try to negotiate a

settlement a personal injury claim and a

personal injury lawsuit are separate and

distinct from one another it's important

to understand which one best applies to

your situation we're going to use the

example of a car accident but the

information here can apply to all types

of personal injury cases including slip

and falls dog bites defective products

etc so let's talk about the difference

between a claim and a lawsuit a personal

injury claim is between you and the

at-fault drivers insurance company

before any lawsuit is considered the

claims process is a series of

negotiations between you and the

insurance company's claims adjuster the

negotiations hopefully result in a

compromise

where both parties are satisfied now

let's touch on a personal injury lawsuit

a personal injury lawsuit is filed when

the negotiation process breaks down and

the compromise can't be reached the

break down may occur because the claims

adjuster denies their insured was at

fault or doesn't agree with the severity

of your injuries and the amount you're

demanding

when claimed negotiations hit a wall the

next step is a lawsuit so it makes sense

to begin with the personal injury claim

a claim begins after a victim is injured

or suffers property damage or both

caused by another drivers negligence to

cover the resulting costs the victim

pursues the at fault driver who turns

the matter over to his insurance company

once the insurance company is notified

it generates a claim number and assigns

the case to a claims adjuster then the

adjuster opens a claim and contacts the

victim to negotiate a settlement if the

two can agree on a settlement a lawsuit

will not have to be filed to settle the

case the claims adjuster needs proof

that

the accident was caused by her in shirt

the at-fault driver that her insured was

negligent and that the victim's injuries

are severe enough to qualify for a

settlement to get this proof the

adjuster will investigate the facts of

the case in your case this investigation

may include reviewing your medical

charts and Bill's speaking with you and

any witness to the accident reviewing

the police report going to the scene of

the accident and taking photos looking

over the damage to your car and

estimating repair costs evaluating any

other evidence you provide now your

conversations with the claims adjuster

need to be accurate and support your

case during the claims process you must

convince the adjuster of the following

one their insureds negligence caused the

accident to your injuries are real and

required medical attention 3 the cost of

your medical treatment is substantial

for your out-of-pocket costs are real

medications crutches transportation etc

and directly related to the accident 5

because of your injuries you were unable

to work and earn an income 6 you suffer

continuing pain and discomfort now when

her investigation is over the claims

adjuster will make a decision based on

the information she collected the

decision can range from paying the

entire amount of your demand to paying

nothing

generally the adjusters response is

somewhere in between

at that point you and the adjusters

start negotiating

if you eventually come to an agreement

the insurance company sends you a

release form and a check once you've

signed the release and cashed the check

your claim is finished and final you

won't file a lawsuit or involve the

courts in any way so let's explore what

happens if you're unable to come to

terms beginning a personal injury

lawsuit a lawsuit begins when you can't

reach an agreement with the claims

adjuster technically you can't file a

lawsuit at any time starting the day of

the accident but for most minor

incidents a lawsuit is the last resort

it's only considered when negotiations

break down and other methods of

resolution have failed like arbitration

mediation a negotiated settlement is

often the best result because it avoids

the high costs and lengthy duration of a

trial although you might not be

satisfied

with the amount of money being offered

before you refuse consider the expense

and time needed to pursue a lawsuit if

you're not familiar with the costs of

lawsuit now's a good time to think about

it

it can include filing fees for the

petition the cost to have a sheriff or

constable serve your lawsuit time off

from work court reporter costs for

depositions and transcripts expert

medical testimony from doctors and

depositions and trial copying costs for

medical reports police reports witness

statements etc this is difficult for

people because he gets emotional but

listen never file a lawsuit because

you're angry or indignant over the

amount the insurance company offers to

settle your claim filing a lawsuit

should be an objective decision if the

injuries you suffered are not severe

enough you may be wasting your time and

money at the courthouse so what injuries

are serious enough to merit a trial

threshold injuries are very serious

injuries to fall in this category the

injury must have caused significant

damage and either be permanent or limit

a person's ability to do normal daily

activities for a specific period of time

many states use what's referred to as a

threshold injury doctrine if you're

injured in a car accident and failed to

meet the threshold your case could be

dismissed although the very states

define threshold injuries differently

some are common to all on those

threshold injuries include death

dismemberment significant disfigurement

or scarring fractures loss or

significant limitation of body organ a

medically certified injury or impairment

that may be non permanent which prevents

you from performing acts there customary

and usual for at least 90 days of the

hundred and eighty days following your

injury make the decision to file a

lawsuit carefully you don't want to file

a suit then have it summarily dismissed

if your injuries don't meet the

threshold and you live in one of the

states adhering to the doctrine give

very serious thought to sell your case

even for less than you think it's worth

regardless it's always a good idea to

speak with an attorney it's a good time

to talk about arbitration you've

probably heard the term before

arbitration can take place after

settlement negotiations fail but before

filing a lawsuit it's like going to

court without actually having to go to

court in Arbor

raishin both sides agree on a third

party called an arbiter or arbitrator

who listens to both sides and decides

the outcome in most cases once the

arbiter makes a decision

it cannot be appealed arbitration is an

excellent alternative to filing a

lawsuit there are various types

including one that guarantees you'll

receive at least some amount of money

compared to a lawsuit arbitration takes

less time because the hearing can be set

quickly the costs are also much lower

now how long do you have to take action

on a personal injury claim there's a

statute of limitations statute of

limitations means there's a time limit

for filing a lawsuit if you fail to file

your lawsuit before time expires you'll

lose the right to sue and may be left

with nothing now each state has its own

statute of limitations for personal

injury cases most are between two and

three years so check your individual

state laws normally the state where the

accident occurred is the state whose

statute applies with few exceptions it's

also the state where the lawsuit must be

filed that wraps up our talking whether

you should negotiate a personal injury

claim or if you should file a lawsuit to

learn more and get a free case review

visit injury claim coach.com

we thank you for watching and best of

luck with your case