If you have been injured in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or other accident in Ocala as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be considering filing a claim to get a personal injury settlement. Successfully pursuing a personal injury settlement can help you recover wages lost because of your accident or pay off medical expenses.
However, before hiring a personal injury attorney, it is important to understand how a personal injury claim works and the costs involved in bringing a claim to court. The expert attorneys at Anderson Trial Group have the experience and knowledge to help guide you through the ins and outs of a personal injury claim. Schedule a consultation today to get started on your settlement.
How Do Personal Injury Settlements Work?
In order to win a personal injury settlement, the injured party must first formally file a personal injury claim. Once the injury lawsuit has been filed, the defense attorney (usually hired by the at-fault party’s insurance company) must be allowed time to look at all the pertinent pretrial information and gather their evidence.
When the attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant feel they have sufficient information, pretrial negotiations will ensue. This often involves back and forth negotiations with the defendant making settlement offers and the plaintiff offering counteroffers until a settlement is agreed upon.
Fortunately, most personal injury claims can be negotiated and settled before ever being brought to trial with the help of an experienced attorney. This can help save the claimant time and money without having to endure a lengthy legal battle.
In cases where the guilty party is obvious, such as a car accident where the at-fault driver’s insurance company admits their client was responsible, can be settled fairly quickly out of court. Typically, the attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant will meet and negotiate a settlement that appropriately compensates the injured party.
However, some cases may be complicated and require a more nuanced approach from your personal injury attorney. If the defense is not quite ready to start negotiating a settlement, they may stall discussions to see if the plaintiff is willing to stick out a lengthy wait for their claim. An experienced personal injury attorney will view this as a good sign if you are willing to be patient.
Insurance companies use this tactic to see if the plaintiff will try and settle for a lower amount rather than continue to hold out for better compensation. Keep in mind, most injury lawsuits can take months or years to reach a settlement; the key is to be patient and trust your attorney to fight for the best possible outcome for you.
The Importance of Proving Negligence
Proving negligence on the side of the defendant is the most important part of a personal injury suit. In order to win a settlement, the plaintiff must show that they were injured as the result of another person’s or company’s negligence.
A personal injury claim can relate to any physical, emotional, or mental harm suffered as the result of another party’s actions. To prove negligence, it must be shown that the defendant directly caused your injuries due actions they took or not performing actions they should have taken to reasonably ensure the safety of others.
Common types of personal injury claims in Ocala due to negligence include:
- Automobile accidents
- Slip and fall injuries
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
- Product liability
No matter what the injury or reason for the claim was, negligence must be proven in order to win the case. To demonstrate negligence on the part of the defendant, the plaintiff must prove:
- Duty of Care: The defendant had a responsibility to be reasonably careful in the situation.
- Breach of Duty: Actions taken by the defendant or a failure to take necessary actions resulted in a breach of the defendant’s duty of care, causing an accident.
- Causation: The plaintiff’s injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s actions.
- Damages: Due to the defendant’s reckless actions or failure to act, the plaintiff suffered damages.
Common Outcomes after a Personal Injury Claim
As previously mentioned, most personal injury settlements are reached outside of the courtroom. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the popular attorney search site, NOLO, 67% of their readers received settlement payouts out-of-court while only about 4% actually went to court. On average, the readers surveyed in this study received $52,900 in compensation.
The outcome of a personal injury claim and the cash value received in a settlement can depend on certain factors involved in the case. Generally, the severity of the injuries can play a key role in settlements with more severe injuries leading to higher payouts due to larger medical bills and more severe “pain and suffering” damages. Another factor is the defendant’s insurance policy limits. Insurance companies will not offer settlements higher than the limits established in the defendant’s policy.
While settlement payouts can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the claim, plaintiffs are almost certain to get a better outcome when they hire legal representation. Victims who hired personal injury attorneys received net payouts that were almost three times higher on average than those without an attorney representing them.
This is why hiring an experienced attorney, like those at Anderson Trial Group, is crucial to getting the most out of your claim. Our attorney’s know who to navigate the often tricky legal crossroads involved in injury lawsuits and will fight to get you the compensation you are entitled to.
What are the Costs Involved in a Personal Injury Settlement?
It is important to keep in mind that the purpose of a personal injury settlement is to help the plaintiff recover damages due to an injury and get back to living a normal life. A personal injury suit is NOT meant to be a way for someone to improve their financial situation.
When negotiating for a fair settlement, be sure to factor in the costs of filing a claim that the payout will need to help cover. By doing this you can ensure that you are getting enough of a settlement to cover not just your medical expenses, but also your legal fees and loss of income as well.
Documentation is key to winning a settlement and getting appropriate compensation. It is imperative to take detailed documentation of any and all expenses related to your injury. The sooner you hire a personal injury attorney, the better able they will be to help get you all the proper documentation you need for your case. This can include predicting the cost of any future treatments that may be needed.
Factors to consider when deciding on what a fair personal injury settlement would be include:
- Medical expenses
- Length of medical treatment
- Income lost as a result of the accident
- Pain and suffering damages
- Future medical treatment or post-accident treatment
- Legal fees incurred
These are all important factors to think about before accepting any settlement offer. Make sure to discuss these factors with your attorney in order to determine the minimum payout you are willing to accept to avoid trial.
When a settlement is reached the first fees taken out of the awarded payout are your attorney’s fees. Attorney fees are usually set to be around 33% or ⅓ of the compensation awarded if the case is settled out of court. However, your attorney fees may move up to around 40% if the case goes to trial. This will depend on the contract you have in place with your attorney.
When pursuing a personal injury settlement, certain case costs must be incurred. These costs can include paying for medical records, copy charges, and postage for pre-suit cases. It is important to note that case costs typically go up if the lawsuit goes to trial, sometimes reaching thousands of dollars in costs. This is often why the attorney’s for both the plaintiff and the defendant will work to settle a case out of court when possible.
Medical Expenses and Liens
Finally, before any settlement money can go towards your “pain and suffering” damages or compensation for lost wages, a portion of your settlement must go towards paying off any outstanding medical liens or expenses. Any expenses owed for treatment rendered can be taken out of your personal injury settlement and paid to the doctors, hospitals, or government agencies that performed treatment.
Damages and Loss of Income
Once you have used your settlement to pay off any medical expenses, attorney fees, cases costs, or other expenses owed, the remaining payout can go towards covering any lost wages you incurred or compensation for “pain and suffering”. This is the money that will actually go into your pocket.
Personal injury attorneys can also help you retain more money for yourself out of a claim by negotiating with your healthcare providers for reduced bills. This can sometimes be a lengthy process, but in the end can help save you additional money on your treatment costs and the amount you have to pay out from your settlement.
Speak With a Personal Injury Attorney in Ocala Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in Ocala, Florida as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Hiring a personal injury attorney right away can help you get the most out of a personal injury claim and ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of.
At Anderson Trial Group, our experienced and tenacious attorneys will work tirelessly on your case to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you are ready to speak with an attorney you can trust, give us a call at (352) 619-0995 or contact us via email at email@example.com.