What Will Your Compensation Lawyers Do With Your Case?
A lot of people believe that hiring a lawyer will mean that their case will proceed to a court trial. But this is actually unlikely to be the case. Though there are no guarantees, most cases are settled out of court which saves you the stress and high cost of a trial. Remember, settling matters rather than going down the path of a trial saves the insurer the high cost of trial as well, so really, settling claims is usually the preferred option for all concerned, also, the claims system in Queensland and most States and Territories, are designed for the very purpose of resolving claims for injury compensation at the earliest possible time, and without the need for going to court.
It is important for you to know that the decision as to whether your claim should settle, or proceed to trial, is always in your hands. The Personal Injury Lawyers will advise as to whether any settlement offer made is appropriate, including the commerciality of the offer made, but ultimately it is your decision. Your lawyer will not commit to any settlement on your behalf without your prior consent. It is inappropriate to predict both the value of a case and the length of time it will take to resolve at the claim's outset. However, using our experience and expertise as injury compensation lawyers, we can say that the usual claim duration to reach settlement is between 12 and 18 months of commencement of your case.
This is the average claim duration, however, every case is different. What we can tell you is that The Personal Injury Lawyers will make every effort and will strive to get you the very best possible settlement in the shortest period of time possible.
Meeting financial commitments during your claim - The Personal Injury Lawyers can help
Meeting financial demands whilst you are waiting for your claim to resolve is usually always a big problem for our clients and we are very much aware of this. To assist you financially during your claim, it is advisable to investigate whether you hold any insurance policies which may assist you with medical payments, lost wages or loan payments. A lot of claimants are unaware that their loan payments (mortgage payments, car payments or personal loan repayments) may be covered by a disability insurance should they become disabled due to injury. You should look at the terms of any loan agreements to see if this applies to you, or contact your credit provider to investigate whether you have this type of disability insurance. If you are uncertain of what the situation is in this regard, you can always contact us here at The Personal Injury Lawyers and we can assist you.
If you do not hold any insurances to meet loan repayments due or creditors who you need to pay during your claim, then it is best to advise them up front of your situation and ask them to suspend your payments until you get back to work. If they know what to expect in advance, your creditors will usually understand. They will make reasonable arrangements for the delayed payments. If it’s necessary, your lawyer can communicate with your creditor to verify the accident and ask to protect your creditor’s claim if necessary.
Also, many superannuation funds have disability insurances attached to them, and this may be of great assistance to you when you are unable to work due to your injuries. Some also have partial or total and permanent disability insurances attached where you can receive lump sum payments should your injuries meet the relevant criteria under the insurance policy terms. You should look at your superannuation statements to see if you do hold any such insurances attached to your superannuation fund, and contact your super fund to investigate this further. Once again, if you are uncertain as to what the situation is in this regard, then contact us here at The Personal Injury Lawyers and we will be able to assist you.
In relation to your medical treatment costs, in some cases of injury, insurers hold obligations to meet funding of medical and rehabilitation treatment. The sooner you contact us so that we can lodge your claim with the insurer of the at-fault party, the better, as then we can start getting your medical treatment and rehabilitation needs funded.
In cases where the insurers have no obligation to meet medical expenses, then it is advisable that you try to rely on the public health system and any private medical insurance you hold in order to get the treatment and rehabilitation you need. Where the public system or your private health insurance meets any treatment or rehabilitation needs following your accident, then we obtain details of what they have paid, and we claim this as part of your compensation from the at-fault party, as this will then be reimbursed at the end of your claim.
If you are suffering financial hardship due to any injury that you believe is the fault of another party, you need to contact us as soon as possible so we can investigate not only whether you have a claim, but whether there is any financial assistance that we can help obtain for you whilst you are waiting for your claim to resolve. There are usually a number of options available to people when this occurs which they are not aware of, and anyone injured and unable to work as a result does not need the added stress of financial burdens they cannot meet. You should contact us so we can work out a plan for you to relieve you of this burden as soon as possible.
Settlement negotiation and litigation processes
Because of the nature of this specialised field, your compensation lawyers’ efforts may be sporadic. You may not hear from them daily, however you will always receive timely responses and updates as the claim progresses. There are several factors that affect the duration of a claim, but so you have an idea of what is involved in the running of your claim, we have set out a summary of the usual steps for your information:
- In cases where the party at fault for the accident or injury is not clear or is in contention, a lot of initial work is required which includes gathering witness statements, photographs, police reports and other documents necessary to verify how the accident happened and establishing the other party is at fault.
- The next step is to obtain evidence from your doctors, employers and witnesses as to the extent of your injuries and how they have impacted upon you. No medical specialist will be able to comment on the permanency of your injuries until your injuries are considered to be stable and stationary, which is usually within 9 to 12 months of your injury occurring. This process can therefore take some time to complete.
- Once all this evidence about your claim has been gathered, the next step is usually for the insurer to gather its evidence as to the extent of your injuries, which includes sending you to their doctors for medical assessment. The insurer has the right to do this under the legislation that governs personal injury claims in Queensland, and even have rights at common law in this regard. This is so that the insurer is given an opportunity to properly respond to your claim being made against them.
- The next stage is then for a settlement conference to be organised, where the parties can discuss the claim and hopefully come to a settlement. In most cases, this conference is called a "compulsory conference" because under the legislation governing these claims, it has to be undertaken in order for the claim to progress to litigation stage. The whole purpose of the compulsory conference is for parties to have a forum in which to try to come to a reasonable settlement without the costs of commencing legal proceedings and going to trial.
- If the claim cannot be settled at the compulsory conference stage, then the next step is for legal proceedings to be commenced in the Court. Litigation is commenced by filing a Claim and Statement of Claim.
- After all the defendants have filed their respective responses to the Claim and Statement of Claim, the parties will proceed with the discovery process and honing their cases for trial. Prior to trial however, there is an alternate dispute resolution process that needs to be met, which usually involves the parties attending another settlement conference, but this time, it is presided over by an independent mediator who tries to bring the parties together to reach a settlement of the claim.
- If the parties cannot resolve the matter at mediation, then the next step is to set the matter down for a trial date, and the matter then proceeds to trial.
- Of course, because a matter is set down for a trial does not mean that it will end up going to trial. Claims can still resolve right up to the very steps of trial, or even during the trial, or whilst a decision is yet to be handed down. Also, offers of settlement are not limited to settlement conferences. Offers to settle can be made by either party throughout the claim at any time.
Your part in the case
Proper health care is crucial to your case for a number of reasons:
1. Proper health care
- “Minor” injuries can be more serious than you think.
- It is difficult to convince anyone that you chose to suffer in silence whilst you have an injury instead of seeking medical attention. In seeking out help for your injuries, it demonstrates that you are having ongoing problems with them and you should receive compensation for this.
- By not seeking proper medical care, the other party may use this to allege that you have failed to take adequate steps to reduce your injuries and that they should not be responsible for this.
- You need to tell your doctors about the problems you are experiencing with your injuries, so that it is fully documented for your case.
2. Keep your solicitors up-to-date
It is important that you keep your solicitors updated as to the status of your injuries and treatment during your case so that they are fully aware of the extent of your injuries when preparing your case. Also, and most importantly:
- Keep your solicitor up to date as to how your injuries are impacting on your employment - whether you are unable to work, you have had to reduce your work hours, or you are having problems undertaking some of your usual work duties because of your injuries.
- Keep a record of all care and assistance that is provided to you by family and friends during your case so that a claim can be made for this, as it is claimable in certain cases. If anyone is assisting you with your personal care, travel to medical appointments, domestic chores or your home, yard or vehicle maintenance, keep a record so you can fully and properly advise your lawyer of all the help you have received.
- Keep records of all monies you have expended on medical treatment, rehabilitation, medical aids, pharmaceuticals etc, so that this can be fully particularised and proven when you are negotiating a settlement, or going before a Court to prove the of pocket expenses incurred because of your accident injuries.
- Tell your solicitors of any witnesses who may be able to support you in how your injuries have impacted upon you, for example co-workers, supervisors at work, friends and family.
3. Avoid talking about your case
It is best not to discuss your case with anyone else other than your lawyer. You should even be careful what you discuss with your doctors in relation to your case, as doctors will note their conversations in your medical records which can be disclosed to the other side. If anyone asks you about it, tell them you have been instructed not to discuss anything and that all inquiries should addressed to your lawyer.
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If you have been injured as a result of any vehicle such as car, bike or boat accident, or whilst at work, on holiday, or in many other situations you believe was caused by someone else's wrongful act or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you think your actions may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a claim well-worth pursuing. Chat, call, email, or let us assess your claim, just press the button below. There is no cost, and no obligation.