5 Things You Should Know
About Your Personal Injury Case

1 Insurance companies handle claims much differently if a lawyer is involved.

Insurance companies and their lawyers fully understand the governing law – and also know that most non-lawyers do not know their legal rights, the insurance process, or what their case is worth. The insurance company may also hesitate to tell you about overlooked insurance that you may not even know you have. While it is possible to negotiate your claim yourself, insurance companies will typically offer the lowest possible settlement, while also attempting to elicit statements from you that will damage your position if you ultimately decide to sue. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be aware of recoverable damages and how to best structure your settlement to your advantage. When insurance adjusters evaluate a claim, they rarely change their minds.

2 Refrain from giving recorded statements to an insurance company – it could hurt your claim later.

Insurance companies will likely ask you to provide recorded statements, sign a release for medical records, and even submit to an independent medical examination – all of which can be harmful to your case. It is your right to refuse cooperation until you have obtained advice from your attorney. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters feign that their goal is to complete an unbiased investigation. Often, nothing could be further from the truth. The insurance company is fully briefed on the applicable law and any loopholes in the insurance policy.

3The typical case timeline is not what you see on Law & Order.

Cases generally should not be settled while medical treatment is on-going. During this time, your attorney will speak with you periodically to monitor progress. The attorney will also help deal with claim and medical billing issues that arise.

After investigating the facts and discussing the claim, your attorney will create and send a summary of the case and demand for settlement to the insurance company, beginning negotiations, discussing progress with you every step of the way. If an agreed upon settlement can be reached, a release is signed waiving the right to sue in exchange for the settlement money. If no settlement value can be reached or the time limit for a lawsuit is approaching (called the "statute of limitations"), then a lawsuit is filed.

4 The vast majority of claims are settled outside of court.

Generally speaking, 80-90 percent of all personal injury claims settle outside of court. Trials can be costly and time consuming for the insurance company – it is in their best interest to settle with you out of court. However, if liability or negligence are unable to be established, or if the insurance company isn't willing to provide an amount you are comfortable with, then a trial may be necessary.

5 Your attorney should make necessary recommendations on how to handle your case, but ultimately, it is your decision whether to settle or take the claim to court.

Your attorney should focus on your best interest, never forcing settlement just to avoid the hassle of a trial. On the other side, your attorney should not force a trial if settlement is truly the best option. Your attorney should use his or her knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process. Rely on your attorney for recommendations, but remember that the decision is yours. You alone understand your needs, as well as the needs of your family.

Henry B. Staley Attorney at Law
Contact us today for a free telephone consultation, office, home, or hospital visit.
Phone: (770) 271-0300   |   Fax: (770) 271-3404

3459 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd., Suite C
Suwanee, GA 30024

Serving clients in Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Barrow and Banks counties.

  • Auto Accidents
  • Workers' Comp
  • Trucking Accidents
  • Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Fractures
  • Burns
  • Loss of Life or Limb