When people are injured because of the negligence of another, it may be natural to think that filing a lawsuit is the immediate next step in order to get reparation for injuries. But in fact, there are many steps that often occur before a lawsuit is filed, and which are necessary to develop your case, if a lawsuit becomes necessary.
Medical Treatment is Needed
The obvious first step in developing an injury case is for you to recover or try to recover for your injuries. Filing a lawsuit before you have had sufficient time to treat and recover is often a bad idea. In many cases, you may undergo months of therapy, and end up needing surgery. In other cases, the therapy may almost completely bring you a full recovery. But it’s impossible to know which will be the case until you have undergone medical treatment (this is often called MMI, or maximum medical improvement).
Obviously, in some cases, there is not as much of a need to wait. The ultimate impact of death or catastrophic injury is immediately clear. But outside of that, developing a full, comprehensive medical history that accurately provides your ultimate prognosis is vital and often can take time.
The Pre-Suit Demand
Even when you are done treating, a demand will often be made to the insurance company or potential negligent defendant. A demand is a package that explains what happened to you, why the defendant is negligent, and what you expect to prove, should a lawsuit be filed.
In some cases, the other side will offer an amount that is fair, or which otherwise is not much different than what you would expect to get from a jury at trial. But if the offer is not fair, and doesn’t fully compensate you, a lawsuit will be needed to get further compensation.
Getting a Good Pre-Suit Offer to Settle
The difference between getting a fair or unfair offer depends on a number of factors, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.
Certainly, you can hire competent attorneys that get all the evidence, and present a well-thought out demand package to the other side. And you can diligently get medical treatment and advise your attorneys of how your injuries have affected your life.
You can’t control who the insurance company (Allstate, Progressive, etc.) is on the other side. Some insurance carriers will make fairer pre-suit offers than others.
You also can’t control your own previous medical history, which may impact what an insurance company offers you before trial. For example, if you had a back injury 10 years ago, and you re-injured it in a recent accident, the insurance company likely will make an offer that is less than they otherwise would if you had no pre-existing injuries. You’ll need a lawsuit to demonstrate that your recent injuries aren’t the same as your old ones.
There is more to obtaining fair compensation than just immediately filing a lawsuit. Time spent waiting for settlement or trial can certainly seem long for many victims. But it’s all part of the process, and understanding what’s happening may make the wait a bit more tolerable.
If you are injured by the negligence of another, make sure you have attorneys that can explain to you the entire process. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today for a free consultation about your injury case and to discuss what you can expect, and when.