Involved in a Pennsylvania personal injury case? You may have questions about the process of litigation of your claim. In this blog, we will explain the various ways that a Pennsylvania personal injury case can be resolved. We will use an auto collision case as an example. However, these case resolutions can be used in many kinds of personal injury cases – from truck collision to dog bite.
SETTLEMENT… Often times an attorney can negotiate a settlement with the at-fault drivers insurance company. Following an auto collision, an investigation will take place. This determines which driver is at fault. Or whether more than one driver is to blame for the wreck. An attorney experienced with handling a personal injury case can streamline the process – assisting you with paperwork, ensuring that bills are paid correctly, protecting your credit, dealing with the supplemental insurance if needed, disability insurance, property damage claims for your cars, and other important issues. An attorney can then negotiate on your behalf, while you concentrate on recovering from the crash.
Settlement will end the claim, often without the need to go through a trial or lengthy litigation process. Although it can occur at almost any time during the legal proceedings. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate and recommend an offer if fair. Therefore, even if the insurance company has already made an initial offer, contact a personal injury lawyer to make sure you are being treated fairly by the insurance carrier.
ARBITRATION… An arbitration is similar to a trial. Evidence is presented in the form of witnesses and documents. However, the arbitration typically takes only a few hours instead of weeks or days like a regular trial. But there is often a cap on the amount of damages recoverable. Depending on the case, an arbitration can be a good way to expedite a case and bring it to a close so that you, the client can obtain a result and move forward.
MEDIATION… Mediation is a type of very organized settlement process. Typically both sides agree on a neutral person (usually a retired judge or experienced attorney in the community) to help bring the case to settlement. The Mediator is paid for their time, but it is their job to help facilitate settlement discussion, not to make any rulings on the case, as in a trial. The goal of mediation is to come to a settlement. This occurs often after the process of litigation has gone on for a while and the facts of the case are apparent to all parties.
TRIAL… Trial is the resolution that most people think of when imagining the culmination of a case. If settlement and mediation fail, or arbitration is appealed, the case will go to a trial. There are jury trials where the case is decided by a jury of between six and twelve people. There are bench trials where the case is decided by the judge. This process consists of typical course of a civil trial – open statement, evidence, witnesses, expert testimony, closing argument, jury instruction and verdict. There are also many, many matters that the attorneys must attend to during a trial. Consequently, most trials last several days, if not weeks. The outcome of the case is then in the hands of the finder of fact – usually the jury.
If you believe that you have a personal injury case, call an attorney at Graham & Mauer for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and discuss the options that you for pursuing the compensation that you may deserve.
Call 610-933-3333 for the Valley Forge office, or 1800-218-0808 for the Harrisburg office. An attorney will answer your call.