The process of settling claims is one that usually runs in a fairly straight line. You might hire a personal injury lawyer, and they'll investigate what happened. Having collected medical and police reports, witness testimonies, and other types of evidence, your personal injury lawyer will then submit a letter of intent. A claim adjuster from an insurance company will assess the evidence, and they'll offer a settlement if they believe the claim is valid.
That all seems simple. What happens, however, in the cases that hit some bumps? Let's look at three situations that might push your claim into becoming a lawsuit.
An At-Fault Party Is Uninsured
Unfortunately, the chances that you're going to have to sue start going up when there isn't an insurance company involved. An uninsured property or business owner, for example, is functionally self-insured. Presuming they don't want settle or can't afford to, you can still sue. Following a court judgment, liens can be placed against the at-fault party's property and accounts to satisfy the judgment.
In cases where you have insurance, such as medical coverage, liens may also be placed on the insurance, pending judgment. Once those parties are satisfied, the balance of the judgment will be transferred to you.
The Claim Is Rejected
Another scenario that may push you toward a lawsuit is if the insurance company rejects your claim. You can appeal the rejection to the company, but the threat of going to court is the primary motivation for them to settle at this point. Intriguingly, though, they may come back with a settlement offer once litigation has started. This often happens if something damning is found during discovery, such as a store video showing the incident.
A Settlement Offer Is Too Low
This one hinges a lot on whether the offer is way too low or just a bit too low. With a slightly low offer, it might not take too much effort for a personal injury lawyer to nudge negotiations in the right direction. With a radically low offer, however, you may have to counteroffer very aggressively to get things fixed. It's also worth reviewing the case to see if the claims adjuster missed a key detail. If so, you can bring it to their attention. As with the other three items on this list, though, there may come a point where the threat to sue is the best weapon at your disposal.
To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.