We understand that many of our clients have never had an injury claim before, or perhaps this is the first accident they’ve ever been in. One of the most frequently asked questions that we have is how does the injury claim process work? Well, we’ve put together what we call a personal injury roadmap, and we’ve broken it down into nine stages.
Stage 1: Medical Treatment
The first stage is medical treatment. Now, this is something that’s going to take a while. This isn’t a process that we can complete in one week or be done by next month, because, first of all, we don’t know how long you’re going to treat. The reason why that’s important is we can’t rush to a settlement or get a settlement early, because we don’t know if you’re going to get better, or if you might need some advanced procedures, an epidural steroid injection, or perhaps even a surgery down the road.
If we’ve already settled your case, we know that the insurance company is not going to send us a settlement check until you’ve signed a release of all claims. Therefore, if you need a surgery or something down the road, it would be too late to go back and get that included in your claim if we settled early.
We want to make sure you’re getting the treatment you need. If you’re already seeing a doctor through your health insurance, fine. If you need any help with finding doctors who will work under what we call an LOP, a letter of protection, they would treat you now without requiring payment, and they would just expect payment out of your eventual settlement.
Stage 2: Evidence Collection
That brings us to stage two, which we call evidence collection. In that stage, we’re going to be getting some of the initial medical records, this may include emergency room or ambulance records. We’re also going to be getting a copy of the police report.
We do have a list of items that we need from our clients. It might be paystubs if we’re going to make a lost wages claim, or your insurance declaration page and similar documents. In the meantime, you’re continuing to treat. We just want to get started on the evidence collection process.
Stage 3: Injury Recovery
Moving on to stage three: injury recovery. We stay in touch with you throughout your treatment process. We like it if you can let us know if things are changing, for instance if you’re being sent for an X-ray or an MRI or perhaps they’re recommending that you go see a specialist.
Obviously, if you need us to help you find one of those type of doctors under an LOP, we can do that as well, but we do ask that you follow doctor’s orders. Try not to skip appointments. I know you can get busy, but skipping appointments or not following doctor’s orders with home exercises or other instructions all gets noted in the record, and insurance companies are going to see those records and they’re going to try to stop paying at that point. They read into it that you must not be hurting that bad if you’re missing a appointments or not following your doctor’s orders.
Stage 4: Finalize Records
From there, we move on to stage four, which is to finalize the records. Your doctor has released you and either you’ve called or emailed us to let us know, or your doctor has let us know. From there, we need to go back and get all the final medical records and medical bills. We make sure that we have everything that we need to prepare a demand letter for you.
Stage 5: Sending the Demand
Then we get to stage five, which is sending the demand. We prepare a very detailed demand letter – our average demand letter averages eight pages or more.
In the demand letter, we’re going to talk about all the details of the accident, your injuries, your pain levels, everything you did for treatment, all the limitations you have and probably still have, how it’s affected your job, making a lost wages claim, and then, of course, all your pain and suffering and mental anguish.
We like to go into detail about things like how it’s affected your life. We can tell the adjuster all day long about your injuries and how many doctors you went to, but when we can also tell the adjuster that you have a three year old and you can’t wrestle on the ground with him like he used to, that speaks volumes, and that’s the level of detail that we’re looking for in your demand letter.
We always send a demand letter to you for review once it’s completed, and we can obviously make any changes or supplements to it from there. We attach all the records to your demand letter, including all the medical records, all the medical bills, all the photographs of the accident and your injuries, including bruises, scratches, and cuts, as well as the the police report. Any other supporting documents are all going to be attached to that demand letter and sent to the adjuster.
Stage 6: Evaluation
Once that’s sent, we moving on to stage six, which is evaluation. You will see in the demand letter that we give the adjuster two weeks to review all of the records, which is sometimes a pretty thick packet of information that we’ve given them.
They have to go through all that with a fine tooth comb themselves. Even though we’ve already done it for them, they obviously do it themselves, and then they have to have time to go visit with their boss about getting authority for making an offer in your claim. We’ve already given them everything they need to document their file, so they can justify to their boss why they’re making such an offer for your claim.
We like to give them two weeks because we found that they get upset with us if we don’t give them at least that long, and from there, they do call us sometimes and ask for an extension. They might ask for another two weeks, but rest assured, we always try to limit them to something shorter than that because we don’t want to keep putting off the process.
Stage 7: Negotiations
From there, we move on to stage seven. Once they’ve reviewed everything and made an offer, that’s when negotiations start. It’s not something that we can do in a day or two, because when you call an adjuster, inevitably you have to leave a voicemail, and then you have to wait for them to call you back. Does that take hours or does it take days? It depends on the insurance company. It depends on the adjuster assigned your claim.
We’re very good at negotiations, we’re very good at what we do, but it just takes some time because we’re dealing with an adjuster on the other end.
Stage 8: Deciding Whether to Settle
After we’ve negotiated and we’ve beat them up or whatever we need to do to get them to go back to their boss and get more authority for your claim, we move on to stage eight, and that is the decision whether or not to settle your case or perhaps we would make a recommendation of taking your case to trial. Now, going to trial is not our objective. We always would prefer to settle if we can get the adjuster into a reasonable range of what would probably be likely if you were to go to trial.
Most of our clients don’t want to go to trial, they don’t want to have to give a deposition, and they don’t want to extend the process that much longer. Going to trial may take another year to two years before you ever reach the courtroom, so we do visit with you about it and we make our best recommendation.
Stage 9: Compensation
Finally we get to the last stage, which is compensation. If your case is settled, our favorite thing is to be able to give our clients a check.
If for some reason we haven’t gotten the adjuster to take your case seriously, then we will recommend going to trial. Once we file the lawsuit, it has to be filed within two years of the date of the incident. That protects it against the statute of limitations. After that, the case could go on way longer than two, three, or four years even, but as long as it’s filed within two years, we don’t have to worry about statute of limitations anymore. Most of the time our claims don’t have to go to trial, because we’ve done such a good job detailing everything they’re going to have to deal with if this case were to go to a jury.
How is Carrollton Injury Law different?
At Carrollton Injury Law, we put Personal back into Personal Injury Law. Our ultimate goal is to give you the personal attention you need to help make sure that you have a speedy recovery and obtain the absolute best compensation possible.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of an accident, please call or text Carrollton Injury Law today at 972-360-9898 for a FREE injury claim evaluation. We look forward to showing you how we put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.