Personal Injury Part Two

In part one of this series on personal injury, we learned the basics about personal injury and personal injury claims. Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the following types of injuries generally fall under the category of personal injury: car, motorcycle or truck accidents or crashes, hit and run accidents, dog bites, injuries from using a dangerous or faulty product, or medical negligence. If you are injured because of an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you may be able to recover damages to help compensate you for losses you have suffered.

In part two of this series, we will talk more specifically about personal injury claims and the possible alternative methods of resolving them in the state of Indiana without going through a trial in a civil court.

Can I negotiate a settlement to my personal injury case without a trial?

There may be options for resolving your personal injury claim and obtaining compensation for your physical and emotional injuries without going through a trial in civil court. Your personal injury attorney may send a Demand Letter or advise Mediation as alternative methods of resolving your personal injury claim.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident or a motorcycle crash that results in a personal injury claim, the person or group responsible for causing your injuries may agree to a settlement payment in exchange for your agreement to drop your personal injury lawsuit. Settling the case saves the insurance company or the other party the time and expense of defending against your personal injury lawsuit in a civil court.

Resolving your personal injury claim by an alternative method can save you the time and expense of a trial in civil court. Together, you and your personal injury attorney should determine the best strategy for your personal circumstances.

What is a Demand Letter?

A demand letter is a formal letter from you or your personal injury attorney to the person or group responsible for causing your injury. A demand letter generally consists of a packet of information and documents concerning an individual’s damages. The Demand letter includes information about the history of your accident, explains your demand for payment of damages or compensation, and outlines the alternative consequence of proceeding with your personal injury lawsuit. The purpose of a demand letter is to resolve your personal injury claim by obtaining payment of damages or compensation without taking your personal injury claim to civil court.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a method of negotiation that relies on an impartial third party, usually a specially trained and certified attorney, hired to help you and the person or group responsible for your personal injury claim work out an acceptable resolution to your claim. Mediation can be voluntary or court-ordered, and involve binding or non-binding arbitration. Some counties in Indiana require the use of non-binding arbitration in certain cases.

Non-binding arbitration is an informal process that uses a lawyer who has been appointed to consider evidence, medical records, and other information presented by your personal injury attorney and the attorney for the person or group involved in your personal injury claim to resolve your case. Non-binding arbitration provides a framework for resolving a personal injury claim, but neither you nor the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury claim are obligated to abide by the arbiter’s decision.

Binding arbitration differs from non-binding arbitration in that the court can enforce the final arbitration decision. Everyone involved in the personal injury claim must comply with that decision when binding arbitration is the method of mediation.

Mediation can be an effective alternative method for resolving your personal injury claim without proceeding to trial in civil court. The mediation process moves more quickly than a trial, and mediation is confidential, unlike court hearings which are open to the public.

What happens if my personal injury claim cannot be resolved without a trial?

If the alternative resolution methods do not resolve your personal injury claim, you always have the legal right to seek compensation and damages for your physical and emotional injuries through the civil court system.

If your personal injury claim cannot be resolved, perhaps because you and your personal injury attorney cannot accept the settlement offer, or if there are unresolved disputes about proof or liability, then you must file a lawsuit to continue with your personal injury claim.

Your attorney will file a complaint and a summons with the clerk of court in the county in Indiana where you live or where your accident happened. This action stops the clock on the Statute of Limitations and starts the clock on the person or group responsible for causing your personal injury claim. Within 20 days, the other person or group involved in your personal injury claim must submit a written response to the court, and then the discovery process will begin.

Find a good personal injury attorney……

Personal injury can happen anywhere, and the consequences can be devastating. Damages can help compensate you for the losses you have suffered, such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and the loss of past and future income. A good personal injury attorney will help you find the best strategy for collecting the compensation that you are entitled to….the compensation that can help you to rebuild your life.