Premises liability cases are brought when a property owner or occupier is negligent for injuries on their premises. Some premises liability accident victims are afraid to seek legal action because they don’t want to go to court—or pay for the costs. Thankfully, most premises liability cases are settled out of court.
After an injury on someone’s property, you can file a premises liability claim with their insurance company. Negotiations typically follow in which your lawyer tries to get the insurer to agree to a fair settlement.
If the negotiation phase does not work out, you can decide to file a lawsuit. This can be scary because lawsuits are lengthy and expensive. However, even after a lawsuit is filed, most cases get settled before they get to trial.
Reasons for Premises Liability Settlement Delays
Working with a premises liability lawyer can make all the difference after your injury. Lawyers who have extensive experience on premises liability cases know how to negotiate, and they don’t back down when the insurance company tries to reduce what they will offer you. If all goes well, your lawyer will work to negotiate a fair settlement after your insurance claim is filed.
While most premises liability cases are settled during the initial negotiation, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, insurance companies won’t agree to a number that sufficiently covers your damages. When that happens, your lawyer might advise filing a lawsuit.
Even after you file the lawsuit, there are opportunities before the trial to settle. Some cases will settle well before the trial date, while others might settle the morning of or even after the trial. Either way, here are some of the reasons settlements might get delayed.
Waiting for Additional Evidence
Your lawyer will gather all of the evidence they can during their investigation, but additional evidence sometimes appears later on. Witness or doctor testimony can change what is presented and how each side negotiates.
The other side might also wait to offer too much for a settlement until after they’ve heard your doctor’s testimony. Otherwise, the full proof of your damages to support your claim may not be apparent.
Lawyers know what they are doing when it comes to negotiating a settlement. Sometimes, each side will try to wait out the other. The insurance company might avoid offering you too much in hopes that you’ll give up and accept the settlement. They might also wait to see if you will take the case seriously enough to try taking it to court.
Insurance companies don’t want to put their best offer on the table if they believe you will accept less. This is where having an experienced premises liability lawyer is so advantageous. Your lawyer will bring their own negotiation tactics to the case and show the insurance adjuster that they’re serious about getting the best deal.
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When Your Premises Liability Case Might Get Settled
Here are a few different times during a premises liability case where a settlement can happen.
During the Initial Negotiations
If your lawyer thinks your premises liability case can be settled without the need to file a lawsuit, they will send a demand letter to the insurance company with a settlement amount. Demand letters for injury claims typically summarize what happened and request an amount for compensation for your damages.
Although it’s rare for the insurance company to agree to the initial settlement amount in the demand, a settlement may be reached through negotiation. Sometimes, that requires the insurance company paying more than they want and the injury victim accepting a little lower than the value of their damages. However, a lawyer may be able to negotiate for the full settlement you deserve.
If this initial negotiation is successful, you will receive your compensation without the need to go to court. This can take some time, as your lawyer will usually want to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit might be filed.
As mentioned above, a settlement can still be reached even if the first negotiations fail. After a lawsuit is filed, the first step is the discovery phase. During discovery, each side will document requests and questions to the other and begin taking depositions. Depending on the details of the case, discovery may take between six months and a year.
After discovery, each side may discuss settlement again. The lawyers might be able to reach a settlement between themselves. Sometimes, they will need to go through the mediation process. During mediation, both sides and their lawyers go before a mediator in an attempt to reach a settlement.
Most of the time, if a premises liability case gets this far, a settlement is reached during mediation. If mediation does not work, the case will be scheduled for trial. Even after trial is scheduled, a settlement can be reached right before trial (as in, the day before or morning of) or during the actual trial.
Whether or not you need to file a lawsuit to pursue the settlement you deserve, you will want an experienced premises liability lawyer on your side from the beginning. Most premises liability lawyers do not take a fee unless they win you money, so you know they are working in your best interests throughout the case process.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we know how stressful a premises liability case can be. You are dealing with costly medical bills, lost wages, and more. Let us handle the burden of seeking a fair settlement for the damages you have suffered—so you can focus on healing and moving on.
Contact us today and we’ll give you a FREE consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we might help. There is no risk to work with us because we only get paid if you do. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.