Boston, Massachusetts Firm Navigates the Personal Injury Settlement Process
When you have been in an accident, many insurance companies will want to settle quickly. They may make a fast offer and even impose a short deadline. Studies have shown that clients net far more from a personal injury settlement with a lawyer than without one. That means that even after deducting for the lawyer’s fees, the client is far better off than if he/she were to resolve the case him/herself. Given these circumstances, it is in your best interests to have a qualified and experienced attorney evaluate your settlement options. The team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. has more than 150 years combined experience negotiating with attorneys, insurance companies, employers and medical organizations. A settlement could happen any time during the negotiations/lawsuit process so we pursue your claim for compensation aggressively throughout.
Negotiated settlements vs. lawsuits: what you need to know
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be fearful of the procedures that lie ahead. Your first instinct may be to think that your case will be tried in front of a jury. After all, television shows based on “legal drama” invariably show a courtroom. However, many clients have received sizable payments without ever stepping into a courtroom. Cases get settled around a negotiation table without the parties ever seeing a judge or jury. Mediation is especially prevalent and while statistics are hard to come by, Feinberg & Alban, P.C. has seen many of its cases resolve in that forum. Even though a settlement may not mean a court battle, there are many stages of the process for which you will need a lawyer to advocate on your behalf and to negotiate effectively. The stakes are high as many cases are resolved for very substantial sums well before trial.
Dealing with insurance companies after a vehicle accident
An aggressive insurance company may approach you directly to resolve your case. While the company’s offer may seem tempting, it might not be in your best interests to take the initial offer. Without realizing it, at this point you have entered into a negotiation and, if you sign anything, a settlement. Before signing off on anything (including endorsing a check), we advise you to contact a seasoned settlement attorney and request an assessment. The settlement you’re being offered may be incomplete or incorrect. Most of all, it may not do justice to your injury because of the following:
- You may have ongoing medical issues as a result of your accident, and settling immediately may mean prematurely accepting inadequate or incomplete compensation.
- There may be additional defendants, such as an employer of the at-fault party.
- There may be additional insurance coverage, such as an excess or umbrella policy.
- Facts may develop in such a way to reveal entirely new defendants, not even simply an employer of someone who caused an accident.
- There may be medical or other types of liens which must be considered and resolved prior to any settlement.
Following the steps to a settlement agreement
- Your first step, of course, is to get medical attention. Much of the rest can be handled by the attorney with input, of course, from you. For example, you should make a diary of how you are feeling so that when you are asked about your injuries several months down the road or even year(s) later, you will be able to refresh your recollection.
- You should document everything: get names and addresses of all parties as well as their insurance information, and take pictures. You may need this documentation later to refute claims by the insurance companies or other parties. It may also become part of the public record if you file suit later. Of course, get the names of any witnesses. In a premises liability accident, have an expansive view of who might be a witness. For example, a person who is familiar with the landowner’s longstanding pattern of snow removal could provide very useful information on the inadequacy of what was done at the relevant time.
- Depending on the circumstances, the insurance company may approach you with a settlement offer immediately. Assuming that you do not accept the settlement and retain a lawyer, the approach will be different. After sitting down with your lawyer, a letter of representation will be sent to the relevant entities. Your lawyer may take the next step by filing a formal complaint in the court system or may defer taking that approach until a more favorable time in the process.
- At virtually any stage of the process, the claims representatives or defense attorneys may make a settlement offer. Perhaps they will propose mediation. It is always advisable to have an experienced attorney evaluate any approach that is made by the other side.
Injured in Boston? Contact a well-respected and experienced legal team to negotiate on your behalf
Whether you’ve been offered a settlement after a roadside accident, an on-the-job injury, medical malpractice or construction-related injuries, your best approach is to retain professional counsel, and at the earliest stage possible. The reasons for being represented earlier rather than later are numerous: witness testimony can be preserved, photographs taken, insurance coverage ascertained, and so on. At Feinberg & Alban, P.C., we have more than 150 years of combined experience in personal injury law. We know that every time we get compensation for a client we help them along the path to recovery. Call us today at (617) 232-5950 or contact us online to make an appointment for a free consultation.