This is the next post in our series on dealing with insurance companies and otherwise handling Peoria, Illinois personal injury cases. Our last article discussed why victims should hire an injury lawyer with significant resources. Doing so helps to ensure that counsel is able to handle the matter correctly and see the case through to completion. Retaining a firm without significant financial backing, by contrast, may result in one having to switch attorneys in the middle of a case. In this article we will discuss another important topic – the need to retain a firm that will litigate your case if necessary. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
There are firms in the area of personal injury law who only handle the “pre-litigation” portion of a case. These are firms that will represent a victim in negotiations with the insurance company. If a settlement is reached then the firm will distribute the settlement to the victim, minus their fee. If a settlement cannot be reached then they typically refer the matter to a “litigation” firm with which they partner. Put another way, if the pre-litigation firm cannot reach a settlement then they will refer the matter to a firm which will file a lawsuit, litigate the matter, and go to trial if necessary. This means that if the case is highly contested then the victim is likely to be represented by two different law firms. While not uncommon, such a situation can result in one having to “get up to speed” with a new attorney after having worked with a prior firm for a significant amount of time.
Pre-litigation firms will sometimes drop a matter entirely if they do not believe a settlement can be reached. Say, for example, that one is injured in a bicycle accident in which they were struck by a car while riding. The victim retains a pre-litigation only firm. After sending a demand letter to the insurance carrier, the firm receives a response saying that the insurer is denying liability on the grounds that it considers the parties equally responsible for the accident; they claim that the driver was speeding but that the cyclist was also not paying sufficient attention. The firm then sends a notice to the victim informing him that they are ceasing representation on the grounds that the case does not appear viable. Many victims may simply abandon the case. If, however, they retain a subsequent lawyer who is willing to take the matter further, they may obtain compensation. While the outcome of any matter will always depend on the facts of the case, this hypothetical situation is meant to show what can happen if one retains a firm that will not handle both the pre-litigation and litigation phase of a case.
Retaining a firm that will handle a matter from beginning to end helps to ensure that you do not have to switch lawyers during the matter and that your case is handled aggressively. The latter is important in matters that do not involve a “quick” or easy settlement. When interviewing attorneys to handle your matter, we suggest that you ensure that they will handle all aspects of the case. Our Peoria personal injury lawyer handles all matters from beginning to end and we pride ourselves on providing a high level of service. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.