Harsh Times: How the Recession Has Hurt Personal Injury Cases

The economic recession has hit almost everything, and you might be surprised at the ways in which it has impacted personal injury cases. You and your St. Augustine personal injury attorney should prepare for these complicating factors.

Budget Cuts and Scheduling Issues

State and local governments have seen massive budget cuts, and that means cuts to the judiciary as well. Court staff has been cut across the board, hours have been reduced, and judgeships have been unfilled. This creates a bottleneck on the number of cases that can actually be heard and slows down the process for everyone. This particularly affects small to medium cases, from $20,000 to $30,000, because judges resent how much time and money these cases cost for relatively small judgments. If you are waiting for a court date under these circumstances, it may take a while.

Getting Reimbursed From Insurers

Lienholders and health insurers are legally entitled to be reimbursed from the settlement or judgment in your case for any payments they made. Sometimes, they will agree to less than full reimbursement, but in a bad economy, large health carriers are more likely to ask for full reimbursement of any medical bills they pay. This applies even more to government health care programs such as Medicaid, which typically want one hundred percent reimbursement even in good times. It is not likely that your St. Augustine personal injury lawyer will be able to negotiate a lien reduction.

Adjust Your Expectations

Claimants in personal injury cases are often impacted by the bad economy as well. If they are facing financial trouble, they may be counting on a settlement from the case to help take care of some debts. This makes them more likely to accept a low-ball offer for far less than their case is actually worth. Alternatively, some are so focused on getting a large settlement that they refuse to accept a lower, but reasonable, offer. Either way, try to keep your expectations in check based on what your lawyer tells you.

If you have questions about how to handle your personal injury claim, talk to a St. Augustine personal injury attorney. Call the Attorneys at Canan Law at (904) 849-2266.

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