If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity, you will likely be entitled to various types of compensation. However, securing that compensation can be challenging. Often, injury victims attempt to handle these cases on their own when dealing with insurance carriers or even a personal injury lawsuit. In other cases, injury victims will rely on assistance from an attorney to help them with their case. Here, our Chicago personal injury attorneys want to discuss what a personal injury settlement or lawsuit entails as well as the benefits and negatives of handling the case on your own versus working with an attorney.
What Goes Into an Injury Settlement or Lawsuit?
The vast majority of personal injury claims in Illinois will be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, even though an insurance settlement will likely be quicker than a full personal injury trial, these cases can still be incredibly complicated. There are various steps involved when attempting to settle an insurance claim successfully. These steps include:
- Gathering evidence pertaining to the incident to prove what happened
- Using the evidence to determine liability
- Obtaining and reviewing all insurance policies
- Presenting a demand letter to the insurance carrier
- Negotiating with insurance carriers and at-fault parties to obtain a fair settlement
In the event an at-fault party or insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, or if they deny the claim altogether, it may be necessary for an injury victim to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to cover the compensation they need. This opens up another realm of difficulty because this will officially enter the civil court system in Illinois. When this occurs, there will be an initial discovery phase for the trial where more investigation will occur, and both sides will exchange information with one another.
At this point, it is important to point out that the insurance carriers and the at-fault party will likely be represented by an attorney. There may be depositions taken, which means that witnesses have to testify under oath. There may be a mediation process where a resolution is attempted before a full trial becomes necessary.
If a settlement still has not been reached at this point, the case will be scheduled to be heard in front of a jury. Both sides will be required to present their evidence and witnesses to a jury and try to argue their side.
Can an Individual Handle Everything?
The reality is that most injury victims do not have the resources or legal expertise necessary to handle all of these steps mentioned above. The other parties involved, including the insurance carriers and the at-fault parties, often have deeper pockets and can outlast the injury victim when it comes to trying to force a settlement or getting the case dropped altogether.
How is Having an Attorney More Beneficial?
When an injury victim secures assistance from an attorney, they will be gaining an advocate with the resources necessary to handle every aspect of the case. A personal injury attorney will have the ability to go head-to-head with the other parties involved every step of the way. Additionally, an attorney will have much more knowledge about the legal system and how to properly negotiate these cases in an attempt to reach a settlement. If necessary, an attorney will be fully prepared to take a case all the way to trial, and they will not be scared off by a potential jury situation.