7 Things You Need to Know About Personal Injury Cases
Whether you have already met with a personal injury attorney and started working on your case, or you are just visiting to gather more information, we at Gomerman | Bourn & Associates want to make sure you understand the lingo and are prepared for your day in court should that day come. Here’s a short list of some of the top terms you’ll need to be familiar with as we get started!
Insurance Claims Representative – This is one of the key players in most personal injury cases. This person will be the gatekeeper for a lot of information and will also be in communication with your attorney if settlement is possible in the pre-lawsuit phase of the case.
Demand letter – attorneys usually send a demand letter to the insurance company when you are ready to settle. This usually happens when you are done with treatment or when your attorney thinks your case is worth more than the insurance available. The demanded amount of damages (compensation) is a starting point for settlement negotiations.
Discovery – During this part of the process, the parties involved exchange information about their claims and defense against the claims. This can include seeing a doctor designated by the insurance company, giving a deposition (essentially a testimony of what happened), as well as other written documentation.
Damages – essentially, monetary compensation, whether compensatory (owed) or punitive (as punishment). Punitive damages are not usually allowed unless someone intentionally harmed you or showed a conscious disregard for public safety (e.g., driving under the influence of alcohol).
Burden of proof – obligation of either party in a lawsuit to show that their claims are accepted as true. For civil lawsuits, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, called the claimant or the plaintiff and the burden of proof is met if they can show a fact is more likely true than not true (a preponderance of the evidence).
Mediation or trial brief – used to identify the issues of the lawsuits with a summary of the factual background, position of the parties, and goals of the parties in a dispute.
Arbitration – a form of alternative dispute resolution when both parties agreed to a factfinder that they choose rather than have their dispute heard in a lawsuit by a jury or a judge. Arbitration applies to nearly all uninsured and underinsured motorist claims when an automobile crash is involved.
At Gomerman | Bourn & Associates, we specialize in motor vehicle collisions, including pedestrian, automobile, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents, as well as trip and fall and dog bite cases. Understanding the terminology can not only help you be better prepared for your pending case, but it can allow you to play a more involved role in your case because you understand the language. Instead of being an observer, you can become an active participant and partner to your attorney in successfully collecting damages owed to you. Our Intake Paralegal would love to speak with you about your case and is just an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.