Thomas McCutcheon

No insurance company or other party will pay money without proof that money is owed. This is especially true in personal injury cases where documentation of medical expenses, injuries, lost wages and other claims are required. Unless the claim is documented, the claim will not be paid.

Your attorney should know the value of the case after becoming thoroughly familiar with the injuries and medical documents that prove these injuries. A fully informed demand letter containing the information needed for an insurance company needs to evaluate a claim adds to the value of a claim.

At this point negotiation can take place to settle the case. The majority of cases are settled after documentation is obtained and received by the insurance company. This includes documentation of how the bills were paid, whether it was Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid or if they were not paid. If the case is filed for trial, most cases are still negotiated for settlement.

Those cases that can’t settle are often ordered to mediation by the court. A mediation is an opportunity for all the parties to be present with a certified mediator who can convey information back and forth between the parties until a resolution is reached. We mediate a lot of cases. One question often asked is whether or not the mediator has the authority to decide the case absent an agreement between the parties. They do not.

If a case is not settled through negotiation or mediation it is then referred over for a trial. A trial will resolve the issues one way or the other. Outcomes at trial can be good, bad or indifferent. It is that uncertainty that truly promotes settlement through negotiation or mediation. A trial in the United States typically means that a judge decides what law applies and the jury decides what the facts of the case are and then applies the law to the facts to render a decision known as a verdict.

Certain types of contracts contain agreements not to go to court but to instead arbitrate. Automobile purchase contracts almost always contain an agreement to arbitrate. These agreements are enforced by the court. During arbitration both parties present evidence that is generally admissible but under a more relaxed evidentiary standard and the arbitrator makes the final decision. Arbitration decisions are generally not reviewable by the courts.

Buckle up, drive safely and as always your referrals are appreciated! 256-764-0112


Ask the Attorney is sponsored by local attorneys, McCutcheon & Hamner, PC, as a service to the residents of NW Alabama.

Please send the questions to:

“Ask the Attorney,”

P. O. Box 38,

Florence, Alabama 35631

or visit our website at: www.mhatty.com

facebook: McCutcheon and Hamner, P.C.

We will not print your full name in the article. We will not be able to return any written or preprinted items which are submitted.

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality legal services performed by other lawyers.