Good things come to those who wait. This old saying certainly isn’t true in all cases, or even in most cases. But it usually is true regarding personal injury settlements. Over 95 percent of these personal injury claims settle out of court. However, as outlined below, they usually do not settle quickly. Furthermore, if cases settle too soon, there is a good chance that the victims are settling for far less than maximum compensation.
An Illinois personal injury attorney is not just a good litigator. A proficient lawyer is also an effective negotiator. Attorneys know how to initiate settlement talks on favorable terms. Once these talks begin, they know when to stand firm and when to compromise. These skills should lead to maximum compensation for your serious injuries.
Mild personal injury claims often settle before an Illinois personal injury attorney needs to file suit. As a very general rule of thumb, a “mild” case means the victim did not spend the night in a hospital and required less than three physical therapy sessions.
These cases usually involve few or no future medical expenses. As a result, the economic losses are relatively easy to determine. Furthermore, these victims often experience little pain and suffering. So, the insurance company lawyer does not suffer from “sticker shock” when it receives a demand letter.
Mild cases also include a legal element. Usually, cases settle quickly if an emergency responder gave the other driver a ticket. These tortfeasors, or negligent drivers, could be liable for damages as a matter of law, under the negligence per se rule. In other words, some insurance company liability defenses might be unavailable.
Very few personal injury cases meet these parameters. Many serious injuries require at least an overnight stay. If nothing else, doctors often want to monitor accident victims. Additionally, emergency responders sometimes don’t write tickets in these situations. Responders may view car crashes as civil matters and may lack the time and resources to investigate the crash properly. Some responders are reluctant to issue citations and get involved in them.
Many personal injury claims must go through the lawsuit process. If a moderate or severe injury claim settles too early, before this process begins, the settlement amount might not fully account for all future medical expenses. If that happens, the victim could be financially responsible for these costs.
There are also liability issues to consider. If an emergency responder didn’t issue a citation, the victim/plaintiff must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. The best evidence in a personal injury claim often surfaces during a lawsuit’s discovery process.
Filing a legal action has other benefits as well. The statute of limitations is a good example. If the SOL expires before an attorney files suit, the victim loses all rights to financial compensation.
Furthermore, many Winnebago County judges encourage the referral of legal cases to mediation. Basically, mediation is a court-supervised negotiation session that usually lasts a full day. After each side gives a brief opening statement, the mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Illinois personal injury attorney, conveys settlement offers and counteroffers back and forth between the parties.
During mediation, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. They must earnestly work toward a settlement by making compromises when appropriate. Because of this, mediation is usually about 90 percent successful.
Rely On an Experienced Winnebago County Personal Injury Attorney
Accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Illinois, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.