Path of the Personal Injury Case

The Beginning

For most people, the stress of lost income and high medical bills compounds the trauma of their physical injury. One of the first things your attorney will do is communicate directly with the insurance company. The team assigned to your case will follow up on your medical treatment, advise how best to deal with your medical bills, deal with creditors, and when it’s time to settle your case, obtain and submit the necessary documentation to the insurance company to properly support your claim.

The interview

We will ask for general information about your case and use a questionnaire to make sure we get all the facts. At this meeting you will be required to sign a “Retainer and Fee Agreement” which will allow us to represent you. All of these forms will be explained to you.

You will be introduced to the team assigned to your case and be given contact information for them and others who can answer any questions you may have.

The paralegal assigned to your team will work with your attorney and everyone else on the team to prepare your case. Consequently, your paralegal will most likely be able to answer any questions you may have. But, if you wish personal contact with your attorney, please let us know that when you call or make an appointment.

Case preparation

Once you have hired us to represent you, do not discuss your injuries with anyone except your doctors and your legal team – not the insurance company, your employer, or anyone else.

Letters will be sent to all parties involved in your case, including insurance companies, indicating that you have retained us as your lawyers. Letters will also go out to all physicians, hospitals and anyone else necessary who can provide us with information to complete your file. This could include the IRS, your employer, schools, etc.

While you are healing, activity on your file will slow considerably and consist of updating your medical records as you continue treatment, verifying lost wages and investigating liability. The insurance company will be advised of your medical progress and the amount of your medical bills so that settlement funds can be reserved.

Evaluation

A case cannot be settled until you have reached a full recovery or the point at which you will not be able to recover further. This can take months or even years. Typically, the process will take a year. We must be able to evaluate your final condition before the actual value of your case can be determined.

Advise your paralegal immediately once you’ve finished your medical treatment so that we can proceed with the case. The collection of records and the preparation of your “settlement package” is very time consuming and can take as long as two or three months. This is important because the settlement offered by the insurance company is based on the documentation we can provide.

Negotiation

No settlement will ever be made without your consent.

It usually takes the insurance company several weeks to review the settlement package and to evaluate the damages. After they make an offer that your attorney feels is reasonable, we will contact you to discuss the offer and get your consent to accept it. This will be a very thorough discussion and all of your concerns will be addressed before we settle your claim.

If the insurance company does not make a reasonable offer, we will discuss whether or not to file a lawsuit.

Settlement

When a settlement is accepted, you sign a Release of Claim form and the insurance company sends us a check made payable to you and our firm, usually within 30 days. You must sign the check and the funds will be deposited in the firm’s Clients’ Fund Account.

While waiting for the check we will contact everyone who has been waiting for payment to negotiate a possible reduction of medical bills where possible and obtain the final balances. Again, this can take time. When the figures are in, settlement funds can be disbursed.

Filing Suit

If a settlement cannot be reached, the decision to file a lawsuit is made. We prepare each lawsuit as if it is going to trial even though a settlement could (and often does) take place at any time after the lawsuit is filed.

Discovery

Both sides have a right to obtain information needed to prepare their cases by use of a procedure called discovery. Depositions and interrogatories are the most common forms of discovery.

Depositions

A deposition is testimony given under oath in the presence of lawyers from both sides and is taken down by a court reporter. Before you give a deposition, you will be thoroughly prepared by your attorney and team.

Written interrogatories

This is simply a list of questions lawyers may submit to anyone involved in the case. Should a written interrogatory be requested of you, we will ask that you provide the answers by a certain date. We will review your answers, put them in the proper form, and return the statement for your signature. Then your answers will be sent to the defense lawyers.

Trial / Mediation / Arbitration

Most cases are settled before they get to the courtroom. If your case does go to trial, you will be thoroughly briefed on what to expect. We will be available at all times to answer your questions.

We will keep you informed

We will be in touch with you periodically to check on your medical progress and we encourage you to keep us advised of any changes in your condition. You can call your attorney, your paralegal, or contact them via email.

Confidentiality

All information provided to your attorney will remain confidential unless you agree that we may release it. Our entire staff is bound by the same standards. The defendant(s), their insurance companies, and the defense lawyers are entitled to some information by law. That information must be provided.

Conclusion

This is a general overview of what happens when we accept a case. Every case is unique and each step is tailored accordingly. We would be pleased to be of service to you and encourage you to contacts us.

Personal Injury

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