Omaha, NE- After a car accident, the victims are often unclear about how they should proceed. They are not certain if they should immediately settle with an insurer
Before a traffic accident victim files a lawsuit they will be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They want to settle your claim quickly and move on. For some victims, the initial settlement offer is fair and will cover their medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. However, there are many occasions in which an insurance company offers a personal injury victim less money than they need or deserve.
When this happens the personal injury victim should consider filing a civil lawsuit, but before you head to court there are some alternatives you might consider. The majority of personal injury claims are settled through negotiations between the victim, their attorney and insurance companies before the parties go to court.
If the initial offer you receive is not acceptable, and you don’t have an attorney, then hire one, many personal injury attorneys will take your case on contingency basis and you only have to pay them once you have settled your claim. Having an attorney lets an insurance company know you are serious about your claim and they will be less likely to give you a low-ball offer.
With the help of an accident attorney you can determine of you explore alternatives to a formal lawsuit such as arbitration or mediation. These two alternatives can be less costly than a court case and typically result in fair settlements, but both parties must agree on these alternatives.
Mediation is a process in which a mediator meets with both parties to help them resolve their disagreements and decide on what would be a fair settlement.
Arbitration is more formal, where an arbiter acts like a judge and will decide on a case after hearing the relevant  evidence. Arbiters are allowed to award settlement amounts and their decisions are binding.
If you an insurer cannot come up with a settlement both parties agree on then it may be time to file a personal injury lawsuit. If a lawsuit is order, the victim can take their case to small claims court or civil court.
Small claims courts are limited to lower dollars amounts and are less costly than civil courts. Small claims court cases are appropriate when a victim is seeking $5,000 or less. Each state has different limits on the amount of compensation an accident victim can receive so the injury victim should speak with their accident attorney
A civil court case is more time consuming and costly, but they often result in significantly larger settlements. Personal injury cases in civil court first start with a formal filing and are followed by the “discovery” phase. The discovery phase allows attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant to make formal requests for the evidence each party will present. Once the discovery phase is complete, the parties will head to trial where either a judge or a jury will determine the amount of compensation an accident victim will receive.

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