Most non-lawyers are very hesitant to go to court, hoping that their case will quickly settle. We previously wrote about when you should consider settling in your personal injury case. But what happens if settlement isn’t an option? Why do you have to go to court, when other claims simply get paid? In this post, we’ll discuss some of the situations where going to court may be your only option.
The Parties Cannot Agree on Liability
The first step in any personal injury case is determining who was at fault for the accident. In some cases, liability is obvious – someone who ran a red light and caused an accident because they were texting on their smartphone was obviously negligent. In other cases, it can be a lot harder to determine who was at fault. This may be because the facts are in dispute, people don’t know what really happened, or both parties believe the other to be at fault. It may ultimately require a judge or a jury to decide who was at fault in the accident.
The Value of Your Claim is in Dispute
Even if there is no issue as to liability, some cases can’t be settled because the value of the claim is disputed by the other party. These disputes can arise in various ways, but here are some common arguments that defendants often raise:
- Your injuries existed prior to the accident.
- You were over-treated by your doctor and did not require all of the medical services provided to you.
- Your injuries did not require you to miss work.
- Your injuries did not linger as long as you claim.
- You have inflated your claim for pain and suffering.
Some of these disputes may be negotiable, but others may require you to give up a significant portion of your claim. The goal is for you to be compensated in an amount that would make you whole. If they are unwilling to pay an amount that would cover all of your medical bills or your lost income, going to trial may be your best option.
The Insurance Company Simply Refuses to Settle
At some point, your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim, and then submit that claim to the insurance company. The insurance company may have simply rejected it, or they made a counter-offer. It’s not uncommon for your claim to get rejected, and it’s also common for them to make a counter-offer that isn’t even close to the value of your claim. While they are obligated to act in good faith, the insurance company is under no legal obligation to settle your claim. This can be frustrating for many people, especially after years of dutifully paying their premiums.
Your Case Involves a Legal Issue
In some instances, there is a dispute over the meaning of the law or how it applies to your case. In these cases, the at-fault party typically believes that they will not have to pay your claim if the issue is resolved in their favor. Since you can’t resolve these issues via settlement, they may refuse to settle and push the matter to trial.
Slappey & Sadd – Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys Helping You Navigate the Claim Process
The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd understand how daunting the legal process can be. We work with our clients every step of the way to make sure they always understand their options and are completely comfortable with the direction their case is taking. If you’d like to speak with one of our attorneys about how we can help you, call us at 888-474-9616 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.