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Kobal Law

Why It Can Take So Long To Settle A Case


Usually, it only takes buyers and sellers a few hours to agree on the purchase price of a new car. So, many people want to know why is my lawyer taking so long to settle my case. That’s an honest question which deserves an honest answer. This answer has much to do with the personal injury settlement process. Although over 90 percent of civil cases settle out of court, the process is quite cumbersome in many respects.

Fundamentally, many people are concerned about settlement delays because they don’t fully know or trust their lawyers. Far too many victims choose an attorney based on a flashy TV commercial or a Google Reviews reference. Or, they work with lawyers who handled their criminal or other cases very well but have little expertise in the area of personal injury. If your Tampa personal injury attorney has experience in this area and is dedicated to personal injury law, you can rely on your lawyer’s judgment in this area.

Gathering the Best Evidence

The burden of proof in a civil case is quite low. However, as is generally the case, minimal effort produces minimal results. In other words, if your lawyer only has just enough evidence to prove negligence, or a lack of care, maximum compensation is usually unavailable.

A car accident claim is a good example. Some evidence, like hospital bills and the police accident report, is usually available almost right away. Frequently, however, the best evidence is yet to come.

Frequently, lawyers partner with independent doctors who breathe life into medical bills. They translate Medspeak into English and paint a clear picture of the pain and suffering a victim endures on a daily basis. When jurors understand these things, they’re usually willing to award maximum compensation.

As for the cause of the wreck itself, a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder is often compelling. Usually, a Tampa personal injury attorney must obtain a court order to inspect and download this information. So, if the case settles too early, questions about responsibility for the accident might affect the amount of compensation the victim receives.

This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

The Settlement Process

Usually, informal settlement negotiations cannot start until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. Until that happens, it’s almost impossible to determine the amount of money reasonably necessary to cover probably future medical bills. Once cases settle, it’s almost impossible to reopen them. So, if the settlement amount doesn’t account for these charges, the victim may be financially responsible for them.

Once informal negotiations begin, insurance company lawyers almost always drag their feet. They question liability for the collision as well as the amount of damages. Then, they either make low ball offers or take-it-or-leave-it offers. So, the negotiation process is delayed, and it often breaks down.

Generally, only court-ordered mediation jumpstarts stalled negotiations. A third party mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Tampa personal injury attorney, meets with both sides and tries to engineer a settlement.

Professional mediators know how to bring two sides together. Additionally, as mentioned, mediation is a court-supervised negotiation session. Both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. Neither side can go through the motions or make dead-end settlement offers.

Largely because of these things, and also because the trial date is approaching, civil mediation in Florida is about 90 percent successful.

 Contact a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Home, after-hours, virtual, and hospital visits are available.


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