Step One: Investigation
The first step with any new personal injury case is to conduct an initial investigation. The attorney’s office will gather information in order to do an initial investigation. This investigation can include many things such as requests of any photos of the scene taken both photos of the client’s vehicle both before the accident as well as any taken after to show the damage, any photos of the opposing parties vehicle, any photos of the clients injuries if applicable. Depending on the severity of the injuries the office might request updated photos six months to a year later after healing to show scaring. The attorney’s office will interview you to get further information on how the accident occurred from your perspective. If the police came out to the scene of the accident the attorney’s office will request a copy of the police report. If there was witnesses to the accident and their information was taken they will do a witness interview. The initial investigation can help to move the case along and can provide evidence if questions arise later regarding liability.
Step Two: Determine Coverage and Liability
The second step in a personal injury case which can be considered a continuation of the first step is to confirm coverage of insurance. This is done by sending out letters of representation to both the opposing party’s insurance as well as to the clients to let them know that there is an attorney handling the personal injury portion of the claim. By sending this letter the insurance company knows to contact the attorney’s office in regards to the personal injury portion of the claim if there are any issues regarding insurance coverage and liability. If a claim has not yet been opened at this point the attorneys office will open one. Once coverage and liability or at least liability is determined and or not denied, the attorneys office can then send out LOPs or letters of protection to medical providers to help with the continuation of medical treatment as needed.
Step Three: Medical Treatment
Continued medical care until injuries are healed or you are released from medical care is essential to a personal injury case. The damages in a personal injury claim as it says in the name for the injuries occurred as well as the pain and suffering that has occurred due to the injuries, and any out of pocket expenses. The injuries/ damages are proven with medical bills and records as well as any receipts for the out of pocket expenses. Once released from medical care the attorney’s office will begin gathering medical bills and records as well as any doctors reports/notes for any and all treatment relating to the injuries that resulted from the personal injury accident including any imaging taken. This can take months depending upon the both the number of medical providers seen as well as the medical providers themselves. Once all the medical bills and records are gathered the attorneys office will begin preparing the demand.
Step Four: Demand and Negotiations
What is a demand letter? A demand letter is the centerpiece of the negotiation process. The demand letter itself is generally a lengthy piece of correspondence with list out multiple things such as liability: an in depth into why the accident was the other parties fault. Injuries and treatment, medical expenses, lost wages, other out of pocket expenses, mileage, pain and suffering, and settlement demand figure. Any supporting documents are also attached to the demand letter. Once the demand letter is sent and received by the insurance company this begins the negation process.