From Settlement to Litigation and Trial

Settlement

Initially, your West Palm Beach injury attorney will explore the possibility of settling your case with the insurance company. Settlement discussion is usually initiated by a demand letter to the insurance company outlining the elements of the claim (i.e., liability and damages). Accordingly, it is important that you provide all medical information to your attorney and keep your appointments with doctors and therapists.

Courtroom

Sometimes, in spite of the best efforts of your attorney, you and the insurance company cannot agree upon the value of your case. When settlement negotiations reach an impasse, it is usually necessary to file a lawsuit. This is referred to as litigation. The lawsuit is usually brought against the person, persons, or company who caused your injuries, and not against the insurance company, unless the case is an uninsured or underinsured motorist case.

With decades of experience in handling all types of personal injury cases, West Palm Beach injury attorney Stephen J. Press is ready to handle your case with compassion and professionalism.

Factors that Would Cause Your Case to Go to Litigation

There are usually several reasons why cases do not settle, including the following:

  • The insurance company believes that you and your attorney have asked for more money than they are willing to pay voluntarily for the claim.
  • Liability (“fault”) either entails being denied by the insurance company, or the insurance company believes that you and/or some other party bear some responsibility for your own insurance.
  • The insurance company, the cause of internal reasons or company policy, resists payment of your claim and forces claimants to go through the trouble of filing suit.
  • The insurance company is stalling for some time, hoping that your attorney will reduce your value of the claim.
  • The insurance company does not believe that you were injured, or you were injured as badly as you claim. Therefore, the company is requiring that you pursue a lawsuit to prove your injuries.

West Palm Beach injury attorney Stephen J. Press is an experienced litigator who has litigated in both state and federal court, and will expertly handle your personal injury claim should litigation be necessary.

The Lawsuit

A lawsuit is started by filing a complaint and summons. The person or persons who caused your injuries are served with the complaint and summons. The responsible party is called the defendant, while you will be called the plaintiff. After the defendant is served with the complaint, the insurance company will hire an attorney to defend the lawsuit. That attorney will respond to the complaint within 20 days after service by filing an answer to the complaint. The defendant usually denies responsibility for the injuries, denies the extent of your injuries, and sometimes seeks to bring in other parties that might have been involved in the incident which caused your injuries.

In the next phase of the litigation, known as discovery, both sides seek information from each other. You will be involved in the discovery process, which includes some or all of the following:

  • Interrogatories: These are written questions that require written answers.
  • Depositions: The parties or perspective witnesses appear in front of the attorneys with a court reporter who takes down the oral questions and answers in order to prepare a transcript that can be used later in the litigation.
  • Requests for production of documents: The attorneys ask for the production of written documents such as medical reports, witness statements, medical bills, and other documents related to the case. In most cases, your attorney will have to send such documents to the other attorney even if they have already been supplied to the insurance company.
  • Requests for admissions: This is a mechanism that requires the parties to narrow the issues by admitting certain facts that are not in dispute.
  • Independent medical examination (IME): You may be required to be examined by a doctor or doctors who have been retained by the insurance company to examine you and issue a report.

After the discovery phase is completed, the parties will be ordered to attend mediation. A trial cannot take place unless the parties attend mediation in an effort to settle the case prior to trial.

Contact a West Palm Beach Injury Attorney

If you’ve been involved in an automobile crash, have experienced a wrongful death or a slip and fall, or have suffered other personal injuries, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The offices of West Palm Beach injury attorney Stephen J. Press offer a free confidential evaluation of your case. Please call us at 561-833-2772.