Clients always ask, “what happens next?” And it is a legitimate question. As personal injury lawyers, we deal with these situations all the time so we know exactly what happens next. And sometimes, we forget to explain the next step to the client.
So we encourage you to ask your lawyer questions! Like, how long will my case take? What do you think my case is worth? What should I be doing now that I’ve been medically released?
You are the client and you are entitled to know what happens next. If case you were wondering, though, here is a snapshot of the pre-litigation process.
You were injured in a car wreck. You hired a lawyer and you have been treated for your injuries. After a long physical recovery, you have either fully recovered to 100% of your pre-injury condition or you have reached maximum medical improvement and you have a permanent injury with an impairment rating from your doctor.
1. Gathering and Reviewing Medical Records
Depending on the complexity of your case and the number of healthcare providers, it takes several weeks to gather up all of your medical records and organize them and prepare an abstract of treatment and summary of expenses. It takes several more weeks, possibly a couple months, to get a letter from your doctor stating your impairment rating, if any.
2. Making a Demand On The Insurance Company
After talking extensively with you about your injuries and economic and non-economic damages, you lawyer prepares a demand package and sends it off to the adjuster. That demand package will explain your injuries to the insurance company’s adjuster and detail your economic and non-economic damages.
3. Negotiating the Demand
It usually takes a couple weeks for the adjuster to review the package and all of your medical records and other supporting documentation. When the adjuster calls your lawyer, the adjuster will communicate an initial offer. Invariably, the initial offer is lower than your bottom line. Your lawyer should call you to discuss the negotiations and to get authority to reject low offers and make demands. Negotiations take on a life of their own. Some may take a week and others may take months.
4. To Settle Or File Suit?
Finally, your lawyer will either recommend that you file suit and go to court or settle your case for a fixed amount which is acceptable in your unique case. If you settle your case, then you will have to sign the release prepared by the insurance company and your lawyer will later disburse the money to you and to any lien holders on your settlement proceeds. If you reject the insurance companies final offer, then your lawyer will file suit in the appropriate court and begin the litigation stage.
We want you to be knowledgeable about the process and what you should expect in your case. That is why we publish blog posts and have our free E-book which you can directly on your right. Of course, if you have been injured in a car wreck through no fault of your own, contact us for your free personal injury consultation.
Posted by Brandon S. Osterbind, Esq.