You’ve recently been in a car accident in Ventura. Often fatigued and in pain because of your injuries, you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for your medical bills – but you’re also not very enthusiastic about the idea of going through a contentious, nerve-wracking trial. If this describes your situation, there’s some good news: it is very uncommon for personal injury cases to make it all the way to the trial stage. In most instances, these matters are resolved outside of court through a settlement agreement.
How Often Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
The short and simple answer to this question is “not often.” While precise figures vary, most estimates pin the number of personal injury cases that make it to trial as being approximately 5% or less, with some estimates as low as just 2%.
Statistically speaking, it is extremely unlikely that you will need to go to trial in order to recover compensation for your car accident injuries. That doesn’t mean it never occurs, only that such cases are exceedingly rare. Nonetheless, a skilled personal injury lawyer in Ventura will be prepared to go to trial in the unlikely event that litigation becomes necessary in order to protect the client’s best interests and pursue reasonable compensation.
The more common outcome, by a wide statistical margin, is to come to a settlement agreement after a period of evidence analysis and negotiation, which typically occurs over a period of months or years. In stark contrast to a trial, in which the evidence is reviewed by outside parties who eventually rule in favor of the defendant or the plaintiff, a settlement is a solution that the claimant, their car accident lawyer, the party at fault, and the insurance companies arrive at together with no ruling imposed from the outside.
What Happens During the Car Accident Settlement Process in California?
It’s important for claimants to be patient, firm, and persistent when negotiating a settlement, because unfortunately, it is fairly standard procedure for insurance companies to initially make low offers, which they hope claimants will simply accept without prolonging the claim and seeking a higher amount.
Initial offers are frequently inadequate to meet the claimant’s true costs, particularly in cases where the claimant has suffered an injury of a permanently disabling nature which will affect his or her earning capacity for many years to come. In these situations, it is especially crucial that the claimant’s car accident attorney prepare a detailed calculation of the long-term financial impacts of the disability. A settlement offer may sound generous at first – but once you factor in variables such as ongoing transportation costs, household assistance, medical equipment, and anticipated surgeries, that same offer is likely to be insufficient.
The insurance company will also want to review the evidence exhaustively, which adds time to the settlement process. The insurer will want to determine whether the claimant has reached “maximum medical improvement,” what type of treatment was received, and on what dates, which is one of the reasons it is so important that accident victims seek immediate medical treatment following even a minor crash or collision.
Once the insurance company has made an initial offer in response to the injury victim’s demand letter (which, as the name suggests, establishes details about the accident and its effects upon the victim’s life), the process of negotiating will begin. Negotiations may take several weeks or months, depending on factors like how seriously the victim was injured, the scope of the victim’s anticipated care costs, and how easy or difficult it is to prove that the other driver was at fault for causing the accident.
In many cases, the negotiation process is successful and eventually yields a reasonable settlement offer for the injury victim. However, if the defendant refuses to make a reasonable offer despite clear liability and the existence of evidence showing that the victim suffered damages (harm) as a result of the at-fault driver’s careless or reckless actions, litigation may become necessary. To reiterate, this is very uncommon, especially in cases involving car crashes, motorcycle accidents, and other types of auto accident claims. It is more common for personal injury litigation to arise from injuries involving medical malpractice, birth injuries, wrongful death, and other types of cases.
Hire an Experienced Ventura Car Accident Lawyer to Negotiate Your Personal Injury Claim
Don’t take on the insurance company alone if you or a loved one was seriously injured in an automotive accident in California. Get the aggressive representation you deserve from a skilled and effective personal injury lawyer with over 22 years of experience handling car accident claims in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. To speak confidentially about your Ventura car crash claim in a free legal consultation, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 585-5056 today.