You want to settle your injury claim without suing anyone. It is just an insurance claim, and you are not a “litigious” person. But, it also seems like the insurance adjuster is not really listening to you when you explain what these injuries have done to your life. Those consequences go far beyond just what the medical diagnosis says in your treatment records, or even your medical bills. In fact, those medical records mention almost nothing about the losses that you feel are the most devastating. Don’t the alterations in your life count? Do you ever get to tell about those in a way that matters?
Yes, those losses count, and there is a way to bring them into the claim. Our society values life, and its quality. Look around. We put a lot into not just living, but maximizing the joy of life. The pursuit of happiness is built right into our constitutional philosophy. So, our system of justice recognizes that wrongdoers need to be held accountable when their actions take away a life, or even diminish its quality. Even if an insurance company is reluctant to listen, the law says it matters, and juries get to hear about how the injuries diminished a person’s quality of life.
But, you don’t usually have to get clear to a jury trial before you get to tell the whole story. Much more of it can come out in another setting—your deposition. A deposition is a step in the legal process when a party (you) to a lawsuit is given a chance to testify, under oath, outside of trial. Both the attorney defending the claim and the attorney representing the injured claimant can ask questions. Some of those questions give you a chance to finally tell more about what is really going on because of your injuries. The deposition is usually helpful to both the claimant and the insurance company in understanding the nature of the claim and what levels of compensation may be reasonable. But, because it is a litigation discovery” tool,” it happens when a lawsuit, not just an insurance claim (that difference is covered in other articles), has been filed. This step alone is one of the principle reasons I file lawsuits for most of my clients—to give them a chance to explain their losses, in ways no one else can. The vast majority of filed claims still resolve before trial, so accessing this benefit does not mean my clients have to undergo the sometimes traumatic experience of a full trial.
Although there can be legitimate disagreements about what the proper compensation for your losses may be, it is essential that those losses first be understood. Your deposition, as a setting in which you get to tell of your experience, is often a key to that understanding.
Of course, I am writing about Arizona law, this general information may not be right for your specific claim, and is not legal advice. I’d be happy to talk to you, so give me a call at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, 480-733-6800, or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get my book, Arizona Auto Injury Claims, at www.autoinjurybook.com.