How Do Personal Injury Settlements Work in Florida?
Very few car accident or other personal injury claims go to trial. Approximately 95 percent of these claims settle out of court. These resolutions normally benefit victims. Out-of-court settlements save time and money. They speed compensation to victims and also give victims more control over the outcome.
Regardless of the high settlement rate, a Boca Raton personal injury attorney should always prepare as if the case will go all the way to trial. That’s the best way to ensure that victims receive fair compensation for their serious injuries. This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Determining the Settlement Value
A claim’s settlement value is usually a starting point for settlement negotiations. Some financial elements, like medical bills and property damage, are relatively straightforward. But there are some complexities.
For example, a personal injury settlement must include a reasonable amount of money for future medical expenses. Otherwise, the victim could be financially responsible for these costs. Moreover, physical items, like the family car, usually have an emotional value on top of their financial value. Victims deserve compensation for both these things.
Because medical bills are such an important component of a settlement, it’s important to see a doctor quickly and to not resolve the case until medical treatment is at least substantially complete.
Pretty much everything else is subjective. The value of one’s general damages depends in large part on the adjuster evaluating the claim, the skill of the attorney representing you as well as the person who is injured and if they can convince a jury or insurance company of the extent and serious nature of the pain and suffering.
These factors often include the victim/plaintiff’s motivation to settle and the insurance company’s tenacity. A motivated settler, like a motivated seller, often accepts less money. On the other hand, some insurance companies prefer to settle claims quickly and quietly. Others fight them tooth and nail.
Resolving the Claim
If liability is clear, the insurance company should try to settle the claim promptly to protect their insured from an unnecessary lawsuit.
However, many insurance companies often will try to dispute liability based upon Florida’s comparative negligence laws, or failure by their insured to comply with contractual obligations. Common insurance company defenses, which could at least reduce the amount of compensation in a claim, include comparative fault, sudden emergency, and material misrepresentation which could void the coverage. In these instances, a lawsuit must be filed.
If the case remains unresolved after the initial filing and discovery period, which is usually the case, the parties must attempt to settle their claim at mediation. A third-party mediator reviews the legal paperwork and meets with both parties in an office building or other informal setting. After each side gives a brief opening statement, the mediator conveys settlement offers between them until, hopefully, an agreement is reached.
Mediation is usually successful if both parties negotiate in good faith. They must be committed to settling the case and must be willing to make some compromises to make that happen.
Call Today to Start Your Claim
Most cases settle out of court, but the process usually takes time. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Pompano Beach, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.