Although many clients believe they are immediately in a lawsuit once they have hired an attorney for a personal injury case, this is typically not true, nor is it usually advantageous for the client! However, there certainly are times when filing a lawsuit is necessary.
First, a lawsuit must be filed if your statute of limitations is about to run. The best way to think about a statute of limitations is to consider it like a very important legal deadline that, once missed, cannot be forgiven. In Indiana, you have only two years to attempt to settle your personal injury claim without having to file a lawsuit. For example, if your accident happened on January 1, 2015, then you only have until January 1, 2017, to settle the claim or file a lawsuit! And remember, it is generally never a good idea to wait until the last minute to do things.
Second, you will need to file a lawsuit if the Defendant denies liability. This means that the person, entity, or business you believe is at fault for your accident and injuries disagrees with you. The Defendant may come out and directly say he/she/it is not liable for your accident or the Defendant may just never make you an offer or attempt to negotiate with you whatsoever over an extended period of time. If the Defendant has been given multiple opportunities to negotiate with you over a period of several months or more to no avail, it is probably time to file suit.
Third, a lawsuit may be necessary if you attempted negotiations with the Defendant and a top offer was extended but you refused to accept it. Once you are sure the Defendant has absolutely no more money to put on the table, you must decide whether to accept the top offer or file suit in an effort to achieve a higher settlement.
Fourth, you may need to file a lawsuit if you are unsure who the liable parties may be in your case and/or why they may be liable or if you need to compel someone (possibly a witness) to give a statement that you know will support your version of the accident. A lawsuit is essential if you need to do discovery in order to answer some crucial questions. Discovery includes but is not limited to: interrogatories (questions to be answered in writing), depositions (questions to be answered in person), requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions.
If you are injured, contact our GLF Team, and we will work hard to settle your claim without having to file suit. Rest assured, however, that if a lawsuit is necessary, we will fight hard for you!