Many people believe that hiring a lawyer means having to have a trial in court in front of a judge and jury. There are certainly some cases where that happens. In fact, the willingness, and ability, to present a case to a judge and jury is a key factor in making sure that you get what you are entitled to. However, statistics show that the vast majority of cases, over 95%, are resolved without a trial.
Not only do most cases not go to trial, attorneys are often able to settle your case without a lawsuit ever being filed.
These are cases that result in a true “out of court settlement.” During this process:
- The insurance company for the at-fault party is contacted and advised that we are representing the client. This should result in the insurance company stopping its calls to the client, which is a big relief as some insurance company tactics can be particularly unsettling.
- We then gather information to show that the other person is at-fault.
- After the client has recovered from his or her injuries, or been released from care by their doctor, we gather copies of our clients medical bills and records.
- We then look at a possible settlement. We get our client’s permission to settle the case within a certain dollar range, and then submit a settlement demand to the insurance company. Typically, the insurance company takes several weeks to evaluate the case to decide whether it is going to make an offer. NOTE: Insurance companies are not required to make a settlement offer at all, nor are they required to offer the amount of the settlement demand – in fact, they almost never do.
- We negotiate with the insurance company in an effort to close the gap between the settlement demand and the settlement offer. If we can agree on a figure with the insurance company, then the case is settled, and the case will not have to go to court.
There are some cases where the issues of liability are disputed, so the insurer will not make a fair offer. IMPORTANT: Sometimes, there is a statute of limitations which is coming up, this time limit requires that the case be filed, or you lose your rights to it. Other cases have several parties to involved and these also almost never settle before suit is filed. In addition, there are certain defendants and certain insurance companies which almost never settle cases for fair amounts before a suit is filed. In all of these, filing suit is required to reach a fair settlement.
Once the case is filed, it does not mean that there is no possibility of settlement. In fact, sometimes filing suit speeds up the settlement process. Often, once suit is filed, the case is transferred to a more experienced adjuster who may see the merits of a case that a less experienced adjuster may miss. Also, the case is assigned to a defense attorney who may think that it should be settled. As the case moves forward, each side may learn additional information which may help spur settlement. Exactly when a settlement occurs short of trial varies, and can happen the day before trial or even while the trial is going on. “Settling on the courthouse steps” is a cliché for a reason.
It sometimes requires taking a case all the way to trial to get a fair settlement. We are ready to go to court in every case to make sure that the client achieves a fair result. If you want an Illinois accident attorney that is not afraid to work for your best interests, contact us today.