Most personal injury cases settle outside of court. Typically, each side will come to an agreement through complicated negotiations, and the case never sees the inside of a courtroom. When you are filing a claim against a governmental entity such as SEPTA, your claim is likely to settle outside of court, as well. However, there might instances where your case goes to trial.
Your Attorney’s Role in Negotiations
When you work with a personal injury attorney, your attorney is your advocate. He or she is there to ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation, and that your damages are fully compensated.
When an accident involves the government, there are special procedures that your SEPTA attorney must follow to not only receive compensation, but ensure that your case is successful. Most claims adverse to a government agency are lengthy, and the government is not ready to accept fault. That is why your actions immediately after the accident will determine much during this time. First, it is important to keep the “incident card” that is usually (but not always) handed to you by a SEPTA representative after an accident. This definitively proves you were involved in the crash.
Second, once you have established that SEPTA was at-fault or was the responsible party in the accident, you must wait for the government to conduct its investigation. Typically, the inquiry process is drawn out and can take anywhere from one to six months, depending on the type of accident.
While these details may sound discouraging, there is good news at the end of the tunnel. After the government has conducted its investigation, it is typically willing to settle. Usually, the claim will settle without the need for litigation after you are finished treatment and your lawyer submits a settlement “demand package.” Sometimes, a settlement does not come through, and suit must be filed. This typically happens if SEPTA makes an offer that is not acceptable (too low).
Factors to Consider
Your attorney will aggressively fight for compensation. He or she will continually press the government to conduct the investigation and come to a settlement so that you can move on with your life. Once you are presented with a settlement offer from the government, you must consider several factors. These factors help you and your attorney decide if the offer is worthwhile, or if going to trial would be best.
Some factors that you and your attorney might review include:
- The expected costs of going to court.
- How fair the settlement is and how close it is to your attorney’s initial demand.
- The likelihood that a jury will reward you the compensation that you have requested.
- Your personal timeframe of how long you have until you can no longer wait for a settlement.
Work With an Attorney Who Has Experience Handling SEPTA Claims
An attorney’s experience in claims against government entities, including SEPTA, will determine how quickly your case settles and the amount of compensation you receive. If you have been injured in an accident with a SEPTA vehicle, contact attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today for a free consultation at 215-771-0430 (cell) or 800-465-8795 (office). You can also connect with him online to ask a question about a SEPTA claim.