Often times clients ask us if it is safe to assume that there is automobile insurance if a personal injury case goes to trial. The answer is “YES”. If your personal injury case goes to trial before a jury, there is a 99.9% chance that your lawyer has found that there is insurance to cover your claim.
In a personal injury case, after the lawyer has exhausted all means of settlement discussions and/or mediation with the Defendant, your case may need to be taken to trial.
In Georgia, a personal injury automobile claim starts with your lawyer requesting that the insurance company provide the insurance coverage limits available for the claim to the injured party’s attorney. Insurance companies are required to provide the available insurance policy limits for a negligent action of their insured, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28.
Typically, injured parties must first complete medical treatment. After the treatment is completed, your attorney will request copies of all of your medical records and medical bills. After your medical bills and records have been obtained, your attorney will write a demand letter to the Defendant’s insurance company requesting compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Insurance companies have a tendency to reject the amount demanded in the lawyer’s initial demand letter. If your demand is rejected by the insurance company, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit to force the insurance company to pay the policy limits to resolve your claim. After your lawsuit is filed, the Defendant must be served with a copy of the complaint and summons from the clerk of court. The Defendant will contact their insurance company, and an insurance company attorney will be assigned to the case. The Defendant’s attorney will file an answer to the complaint within 30 days or the Defendant will be in default. After the Defendant answers the complaint, six months of discovery begins, which will include written discovery questions and depositions. Any time after the suit is filed, mediation can take place.
Once the case is in mediation, the negotiation of compensation takes place in front of a mediator that will assist the parties in determining a fair amount of money that the insurance company should pay the injured party to settle the claim. Occasionally, mediation does not work out when both parties can not come to an agreement, and the case will need to have a trial before a jury. Most personal injury claims are settled when the insurance companies agree to the relief that the Plaintiff is seeking, but sometimes going to trial is necessary when the request for damages is not met by the insurance company. If the case goes to trial, it is safe to assume that the Defendant has insurance to cover the claim or the case would not be going to trial.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, Attorney John Adkins is the Auto Accident Lawyer in Atlanta that can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Please give us a call for a free consultation!