Injury claims can be a complicated and intimidating process to experience. Potentially having to communicate with the opposing party, filling out paperwork, running the risk of having a claim denied or losing your claim after a lengthy trial are all reasons many individuals choose to stay away from litigation altogether. There are definitely risks involved and enough reasons to be deterred from legal action. These risk factors are amplified when going against big companies. Every single point of your claim will be picked apart so that the company does not have to pay out. Bigger companies will usually have deeper pockets than the individual pursuing the action and can therefore afford to stretch matters out over a long period of time. Now, this does not mean it is impossible to take on a big company in any injury claim, just more challenging than claims against other individuals. Here are some factors to consider if you are considering filing a claim against a large company.
1. Get Your Records in Order
From the time the incident occurs until the claim is actually filled, make sure you keep track of records and evidence. This means any photographs, medical exams, records, and injury progression notes all need to be well documented and dated. During any proceedings, opposing counsel may try to weaken your case by questioning the reliability of your testimony. To prevent this strategy, make a journal log of facts as they occur and are fresh in your memory. This will allow you to refresh your memory heading in to depositions and pretrial meetings. You may not be able to use this journal in official trial proceedings, but you can at least use it for review before having to testify regarding any facts. Making sure you to keep everything dated will lessen the opportunity for big companies to take advantage of any gaps in your timeline.
2. Consider a Contingency Arrangement
As stated in the opening paragraph of this article, it would not be a surprise to find out that any big company has more funds to pursue legal options than the “little guy”. Due to this frequent situation, big companies may opt to drag proceedings out in hopes of bleeding the individual dry of all available funds. At this point, the individual may have to drop the claim due to the inability to pay their attorney(s). That’s where a contingency fee arrangement may be the best option. In a contingency arrangement, your attorney(s) will represent you and take a percentage of whatever is won or settled on. This usually motivates the attorney(s) to recover something from the claim, which usually helps restore the individual, but also prevents the individual from taking any upfront financial hits. Not all attorneys will operate under this type of arrangement and those that do will only take certain cases that seem like a high percentage winning chance case. This type of arrangement does not make sense for every potential lawsuit, but keeping an open mind to this situation may be best for you in the long run.
3. Know the Value of Your Claim
During initial negotiations for a settlement of an injury claim, big companies may try to lowball you with an offer that comes in lower than the cost of what it would take to defend against your claim. Although it may seem like a great deal to get a guaranteed paycheck, this standard tactic to end negotiations early to avoid the hassle of a full legal proceeding may end up shortchanging you. Consulting an attorney and performing advanced research will help you get a ballpark figure of what you should expect to recover. Contacting a veteran lawyer will allow you to keep tabs of what you are given and what you need to look for in settlement negotiations. In addition, working with an attorney will allow you to be protected when all the final paperwork is signed should you choose to settle.
4. Be Prepared for the Long Haul
Big companies are usually capable of drawing out settlements with their extensive number of lawyers, professionals, and fortune behind them. As previously discussed, many individuals that file for an injury claim against a big business may not have the same resources at their disposal. If you wish to be taken seriously in any legal action and get the financial recovery you deserve, you should be prepared to go through a drawn out legal process. This may be lengthy, stressful and sometimes very frustrating, but know that these proceedings don’t happen overnight and can often take a year or more to be resolved. Try to keep the negotiations short and your demands specific to keep the company from drawing out the settlement. If you are a moving target with regards to your demands, the company is likely to think they can try to come from different angles with their offers. This is another factor where a good lawyer by your side to advise you is well worth any money spent.
While these are general steps towards taking on a big company in an injury claim, finding a good lawyer may be the first step towards clearing up the air and presenting you with your options.
Call our office and allow us to represent you if you are facing off against a big company in a lawsuit.