A lawsuit is sometimes necessary in order to obtain fair and just compensation from insurance companies for your car accident claim. Unfortunately, sometimes insurance companies will not make a reasonable offer until you file a lawsuit and show a willingness to go to Trial.
Motor vehicle accident lawsuits, for the most part, are the same as a typical personal injury lawsuit. Here, we will discuss some of the differences.
Car Accident Lawsuits
- Bodily Injury Claim: A motor vehicle accident lawsuit for a bodily injury claim is the same in all respects as a personal injury lawsuit with one exception:
- PIP Offset: The total amount of any PIP benefits you receive (medical bills, lost wages and replacement services) will be deducted from the amount awarded to you at trial from a judge or jury.
Massachusetts Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
A car accident lawsuit for PIP benefits (medical bills, lost wages and replacement services) is different from a personal injury lawsuit in one important respect: if you obtain a favorable verdict, your attorney’s fees will be paid by the insurance company. Generally in personal injury lawsuits each side pays their own attorney’s fees.
If you wish to litigate an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you must seek Arbitration. In addition, you and the insurer can agree to arbitration.
Some of the key components of an arbitration are:
- the case is heard by 1 or 3 arbitrators
- the parties usually determine the date of the arbitration
- the decision of the arbitrators is binding.
Arbitration is similar to a Trial in a car accident lawsuit in that each side presents their case to the arbitrators by introducing evidence through the testimony of witnesses and documents such as medical records, medical bills, and lost wage information.
Some of the differences include:
- the rules of evidence are relaxed
- there is no judge or jury
- it does not take place in a courtroom
- the outcome is decided by the arbitrator(s)
- when you decide upon an arbitration date, you can usually count on the arbitration going forward on that date
Mediation is a useful process to help parties settle car accident claims. A mediation occurs when the parties agree to mediate the claim, select a mediator, and agree on a time and place for the mediation. In addition, a mediation can be scheduled before or after a car accident lawsuit is filed.
At the mediation, a mediator (an objective attorney whose only agenda is to help the parties settle the case), you, your attorney, the insurance adjuster, and the insurance company’s attorney will all start out in the same room. The mediator will state the ground rules and your attorney and the insurance company’s attorney will each give a presentation of the case.
The parties then split up and the mediator will take turns talking to each party and working to convince them to reach common ground so that a settlement can be achieved.
Mediation is NON-BINDING, so if the mediation is unsuccessful, you may continue to pursue your claim.
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