Stage 1: Information Gathering You attorney will collect information such as: ● Basic Facts: The circumstances of your injury are gathered from interviews with you, responding police officers, and witnesses. Often the attorney will even visit the scene to get a sense of what happened. ● Medical Bill and Records: Records will be requested from any hospitals and doctors you saw after the accident in addition to pre-injury records to respond to claims that symptoms were a pre-existing condition. Your attorney will continue to request records until you have finished receiving treatment for your injuries, so keep them informed on your progress. ● Insurance Coverage: Once your attorney has information on health and auto insurance policies, he or she can ascertain which types of coverage apply to your scenario, and send letters to insurance carriers to inform them that you have retained legal counsel. This will ensure that they communicate with us, not you. ● Lost Wages & Other Damages: Your employer should complete a form stating the amount of time you missed from work and the amount of wages lost. After this, you and your attorney will determine what losses you have suffered in addition to direct wages and bills, working to explore all avenues of recovery. Stage 2: Preparing Settlement Package With all the information in hand, your attorney will prepare a package for the insurance company from whom you are seeking recovery. This includes: ● a description of your accident ● a discussion of the legal basis for claiming liability ● an explanation of your treatment and prognosis ● a statement of your damages – including items of specific economic loss, pain and suffering, inconvenience, and other “general damages” ● a settlement demand The goal here is to present a solid case to adjusters who are trained to evaluate injury cases skeptically. Your attorney will put in considerable effort to make the package comprehensive, clear, and backed with all of the information provided, so Stage 2 could last several weeks or months. It is important to make a strong case so that, with the backing of experienced legal representation, it will seem better to the insurance company to agree to the settlement rather than risk losing in trial. Stage 3: Negotiation and Settlement/Trial This could take weeks or months as the insurance company reviews the package and makes a counter offer, but your attorney will call to check in every 2-3 weeks if we do not hear back. Once an offer is made, your attorney will discuss your options with you to decide on your response. Often, this process involves several offers and counteroffers, and can be a long and frustrating period of time. If settlement cannot be agreed upon, you and your lawyer may decide to go to trial. Two issues must be clear: that the other party was liable and that you have incurred significant expenses as a result of the injury. Trial preparation takes a lot of work, and the plaintiff usually has the burden of proof, which can be more difficult than it seems. So discuss the issue thoroughly with your legal counsel before deciding to go to trial. Stage 4: Disbursement After you have accepted a settlement offer or obtained a jury verdict, the insurance company will send your attorney a Release and a settlement check, made out to you and your attorney. It will be deposited into the attorney’s account while the firm determines what costs have been expended during the case, checks for healthcare liens, and confirms the attorney fee. You can then review the disbursement sheet and finally receive your settlement proceeds. If you have been injured and sustained substantial economic damage as a result, it may be crucial to the quality of your life to receive some sort of compensation for that injury. Give your case the best chance at success by working with The Simon Law Group. Take advantage of our FREE Legal Mini Session by clicking the button below.