Believe it or not, the legal process can be as much of a pain as your physical injury. If you’ve been in a car accident, injured on the job, or involved in a slip and fall, we’ve got some helpful tips to make your legal claim as painless as possible.
Your Case May Take Longer Than Your Recovery
First, potential clients often expect the “at-fault” person and/or their insurance company to promptly settle the case. However, a speedy resolution rarely occurs, especially in job injury, slip and fall and auto accident claims. When an insurance company is eager to settle quickly, it often means you are probably giving up some value to your claim or another legal right.
Patience is Key
If you want to protect your legal claim and position, then patience is a virtue! Acting too fast may result in forfeiting benefits of a full legal recovery. Just remember, it is just fine if your job injury, slip and fall or auto accident claim is delayed.
Insurance companies must conduct an investigation before they determine whether or not to pay a claim. Depending on the complexity of your injuries and circumstances of your car wreck or accident, you might wait weeks for an initial response from the insurer.
It is very frustrating when the insurance company accuses you of contributing to your injuries, even when you had nothing to do with causing the accident. They do this because insurers have the right to deny your legal claim if they can find a reasonable cause to do so based on their investigation.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Another reason for delay may be a result of the severity of your injuries and recovery time. In our experience, most potential clients who have been hurt in a car accident, job-related injury, or a slip and fall will not be able to resolve their claim with an insurance adjustor or defense attorney until after they are physically recovered or reaching what is called “maximum medical improvement.”
Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, is established when a medical professional determines you have healed as much as you are going to heal after your injury. In this instance, good things come to those who wait. The last thing you want to do is collect a small recovery for your injury, only to find out from your doctor that you will need more treatment down the road. Once you settle your claim, you are almost always prevented from recovering again for the same injury. In many cases, an insurance company is only willing to offer a minimal settlement recovery on your claim. At this point, you or your attorney must determine whether to take the case into litigation.
For those lucky enough to have never been involved in litigation, the first filing of a complaint and beginning of a lawsuit may seem like an exciting first step on the road to recovery. While litigation can be an interesting process, it is without a doubt a grueling ordeal which can take anywhere from a year to several years to resolve. It truly pays to be ready to dig in for the long haul!
Once a complaint is filed, it typically takes almost a year for your case to hit the docket (the court’s list of cases that are scheduled to be heard.) Once on the docket, it is often at least another month before a judge and jury will hear the case. You will also go through the process of discovery where lawyers for both the injured party and the at-fault party determine the facts of the case.
Unlike the injured party’s lawyer, most defense attorneys get paid by billing hours. The more hours they bill, the more the attorney or firm gets paid. So, needless to say, the defense attorney is often in no rush, and might even wait until just before trial to begin settlement discussions.
Par for the Course for Lawyers = Frustration for Clients
While these types of delays are par for the course in the legal profession, injured clients are all too often left frustrated. However, we are willing to walk with you through every step of the process to ensure you are made whole again after your car accident or other injury. Clients willing to exercise a bit of patience with the process generally get much better results!
Disclaimer: This is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ. For specific advice regarding the information provided above, please contact this office.