There are 3 phases to your personal injury claim…
The Investigation Phase is the most important part of your claim, and it begins the moment you are injured. You, as the client, will have to take an active part in your case during this phase.
It is important not to rush this phase, as many insurance carriers will set aside a sum of money, called a “reserve,” as their early estimate of the value of your case. It is based on the information initially provided to them. Unfortunately, once this “reserve” is “set,” it is very difficult to get them to change this amount.
Before making a “demand” for settlement, we need to obtain enough information about your injuries and damages to providethe insurance company justification for establishing a greater “reserve” than it would based on incomplete information.
We do this by compiling medical records, obtaining lien information, talking to witnesses, investigating the defendant(s), obtaining your wage loss/out-of-pocket expenses/unpaid bills, etc.
What You Should Be Doing:
-Photographing property damage/defects/visible injuries/medical devices to treat these injuries/etc.;
-Seeking necessary medical care and treatment, and always telling your doctors all of your current complaints and physical limitations as a result of the incident;
-Advising SLG whenever you see a new doctor or are discharged;
-Writing in your pain journalat the end of each day, brief notes indicating your physical and psychological condition. This is critical to refresh your memory at a later date;
-Advising SLG when you have returned to work following your injury or any changes in your employment;
-Providing SLG receipts of out-of-pocket expenses/unpaid invoices/copies of any health insurance cards/information;
-Not speaking to anyone about your claim other than SLG/your doctors. This includes no posting on social media;
-And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, be open, honest and responsive to SLG regarding your claim –any attempt to conceal information could be like a bomb going off and destroying your
The Negotiation Phase lasts from the time the initial demand is made to the insurance company until the time of any settlement.
Typically, we use the materials gathered during the initial Investigation Phase to compile what we call a “Demand Package.” This is submitted to the insurance company, who reviews the same (typically within 30-45 days), and then, in some cases, they make an offer to settle.
Back and forth negotiations may occur and your case may settle.
If the matter cannot settle, or we believe the insurance company is not negotiating in good faith, we will file the “Complaint,” and move into the Litigation Phase.
Negotiations will continue throughout the litigation phase, up to and until the matter is settled and/or otherwise concluded.
What You Should Be Doing:
SLG will negotiate your claim on your behalf with the insurance company/opposing counsel, but we ask that you promptly respond to all of our attempts to contact you, because the timing of settlement negotiations is often critical.
We will give you our opinion on whether or not we believe you should take an offer or keep negotiating, but, ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to settle a case.
SLG will prepare and file all necessary documents, including drafting legal documents, filing motions, producing the results of our investigation to opposing counsel, requesting “discovery” from the defendant(s), conducting depositions, acquiring expert reports, attending court appearances/arguments, and preparing as if your case is going to trial, all while continuing to negotiate and attempt to reach a settlement. The Litigation Phase may seem slow at times, but, unfortunately, the court system in each locale only moves so fast. In order to keep things moving, there are a few tasks that SLG may ask of you and you may be required to do under the law.
What You May Be Asked to Do:
-Review and approve the draft Complaint upon receipt;
-Complete any written “discovery” provided to you by our offices in a timely fashion;
-Attend a deposition (“live testimony” in the presence of the defense, SLG, and a court reporter), follow all instructions provided to you by SLG during the prep session;
-Attend a defense medical examination;
-Be available by telephone during any scheduling and/or settlement conference/hearing;
-Attend any scheduled arbitrations, mediations or trials;
-If your matter proceeds to trial, make yourself available for a series of prep sessions in the days leading up to trial to ensure you are ready to testify live in front of the judge and jury or panel of arbitrators.
PHASES TO YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM/LAWSUIT
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If you have questions call Snyder Law Group at (610)265-8050 today.