What to Expect in a Phoenix, AZ Personal Injury Claim
Everything about getting injured is stressful, from getting treatment to confronting the financial and legal realities of a personal injury case. Knowing what to expect can be helpful.
Good news: usually personal injury cases are less exciting and more straightforward than they seem on TV. Bad news, they often drag on a lot longer than most people like. Here’s what you need to know.
Is it better to settle a personal injury claim or to go to court?
You may be surprised to learn that 96% of personal injury cases never go to trial. Personal injury attorneys vastly prefer to get a fair settlement out of court whenever possible.
The reason is simple: you retain a lot more control when you’re still negotiating your claim.
Here’s what happens. Initially, both sides investigate the case. If you’re working with an attorney (and you should, see below) then your attorney will conduct discovery on your behalf. This could include gathering medical records, photos, and witnesses. It generally includes a round of depositions to get everyone’s story on the record. The actual settlement conference will wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, since we need that information to know exactly how much your medical bills are going to be and what your long-term care needs are going to look like.
Experience gives us a decent ballpark figure for what a jury might award you if you win your claim in court. We can use this as a benchmark for negotiation. The insurance company’s attorneys have the same understanding.
Thus both sides make every effort to come to an understanding at settlement conferences.
Trials are unpredictable, and can actually result in a much lower award amount if things don’t go well. While we’re experienced litigators and aren’t afraid to duke it out in a courtroom, settlement is usually preferable.
What is the average payout for an Arizona personal injury claim?
It depends. The three major factors that will impact your claim are:
- How you conduct yourself during and after the accident.
- Whether you involve an attorney and when you choose to involve the attorney.
- The extent of your injuries, damages, pain, and suffering.
Lawyers.com reports an average payout of $77,600 with an attorney and $17,600 without an attorney. Those with attorneys get paid about 91% of the time. Those without getting paid about 51% of the time.
At a baseline, a personal injury case will usually cover your medical bills and lost wages. You’ll generally receive a pain and suffering award which may be anywhere from one to five times higher than your base economic damages. You can at least make some ballpark guesses about your own cases by doing that math, but it will be impossible to say until you reach maximum medical improvement.
How do I collect my personal injury settlement?
Once you’ve either accepted a settlement offer or been awarded one the check will go to your attorney. Your attorney is then responsible for disbursing the funds to the people who have claims on it, such as your hospital. The attorney then takes their percentage of the earnings and passes the rest on to you.
If hospitals or other parties are getting aggressive about collections you can tell them you’re in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit. Give them your attorney’s contact information. Often your attorney can stop collection actions by acknowledging they’ll have a claim on their portion of the settlement when the case is closed. This can earn you some peace and quiet so you can focus on healing.