Accidents are expensive, and waiting around for a settlement can be difficult. If an injured victim cannot work while they recuperate, then the financial stress they feel becomes only that much more intense. Unsurprisingly, one of the first questions accident victims ask us involves the timeline for receiving compensation.
An Overview of the Timeline After an Accident
No two cases are the same, so we can only speak generally. Some important factors involve the seriousness of our client’s injuries and whether fault is in dispute. For a more individualized assessment, please contact a personal injury attorney at MG Law. We will happily discuss a realistic timeline for your case.
Provide Notice to Defendants and Insurers
Following an accident, injured victims should provide notice to all implicated parties, including defendant(s) and insurance companies. As an example, if you were injured in a crash with a distracted driver, you will want to get their insurance policy information, so that you can provide notice of the incident to the company. Similarly, if you were hurt in a slip and fall accident at a Georgia business, it is important to report the incident to the property owner and notify their insurance company. With full information about the insurance coverage, including the policy limits, you will be in the best position to proceed.
Investigation of the Accident
All serious accidents require a comprehensive investigation. Typically, this stage of a case takes 1-2 months. Of course, investigation is always a case-by-case matter. Some accidents are more complicated than others. During the investigation stage, our lawyers will gather evidence about the accident so that we can make a powerful case that you deserve compensation. Our attorneys might interview witnesses, visit the scene of the accident, and talk to your doctor about recovery. We might also look for surveillance video to see if it captured your injuries. It is crucial that all relevant evidence is discovered, secured, and organized. We will make sure that you have the information you need to prove liability and pursue compensation for your injuries.
The Length and Extent of Medical Treatment
Injured victims deserve high-quality, personalized medical care. In determining how long it takes to resolve a personal injury claim, the extent of medical treatment is the most important factor. Simply put, our Georgia personal injury lawyers cannot truly begin negotiating a settlement until we know the full extent of our client’s medical bills. No costs should be left out.
If you were only moderately injured, then you might heal in a matter of months, in which case we can properly value your injuries and start negotiating with the defendant or his insurer. If your injuries were more serious, however, then we might need to wait longer. Although we know our clients need money, it is vital that we know with some degree of certainty how much your medical care has cost and how much you have lost in wages. It takes longer for those with very serious injuries to heal, so we can’t begin negotiating for a while.
Retrieval and Preparation of Medical Records
Medical records form the foundation of any successful personal injury claim. To get the full and fair financial compensation that you rightfully deserve, your injuries must be carefully documented. At MG Law, our Georgia personal injury lawyers will take action to help retrieve and prepare all necessary medical records. As a general rule, medical providers have 30 days to respond to requests for records. Unfortunately, in some cases, there can be delays—providers may drag their feet. We will take action to get access to all relevant medical documentation.
Drafting of a Demand Letter
Once an investigation is complete and medical records are retrieved and organized, the next step is typically to draft a demand letter. Simply put, a demand letter is an official document that gives formal notice that you are considering taking legal action. A comprehensive, professionally prepared demand letter can be one of the most effective tools in moving the personal injury claims process forward. Among other things, a personal injury demand letter should include:
- A description of the facts;
- An explanation of why the defendant/insurance company is liable;
- A specific demand for compensation;
- A notice of your intent to pursue legal action; and
- A deadline for a response.
In most cases, insurers have between 30 days and 60 days to respond to a demand letter. Though, there are some exceptions. It is important to get a demand letter right. A sloppy or poorly drafted demand letter could grind the process to a halt—potentially making it harder to recover full compensation.
Negotiation With the Insurance Company
Our lawyers kick off negotiations by sending a demand letter to the defendant or their insurer. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, then the other driver’s insurer will usually be the one to pay compensation. Our letter states how much we want to settle the claim and why we think the other side is liable for the accident.
Typically, the other side will reject our demand and try to get us to accept a lower amount. This type of back-and-forth bargaining can take months. A lot depends on the following:
- Whether fault is in dispute. For example, it might not be clear which driver is to blame for a car accident. An insurer is less likely to agree to a settlement if they need time to investigate fault or if they firmly believe their insured is not to blame.
- Whether the seriousness of your injuries is in dispute. Some insurers might contest that you are as severely injured as you claim. They might want you to see a doctor of their choosing to confirm that your injuries are as serious as we say they are.
Negotiation might take only a couple of weeks, or it could last much longer. We might also need to attend mediation with the other side to help hammer out an agreement that everyone is happy with.
Filing a Lawsuit (Not All Cases Can Be Settled Pre-Suit)
If negotiation is not successful, then we might need to file a lawsuit in court. Unfortunately, bringing a lawsuit for compensation is a slow process. It usually takes a year from the start of a lawsuit until a jury verdict in a courtroom.
Of course, your case could settle before then. Some insurers will drag their feet until the eve of trial and then quickly agree to a settlement.
After the jury reaches a verdict, either side can bring an appeal. This is pretty rare in the personal injury context, though it sometimes happens. Our lawyers will discuss how that should play out and whether you will be paid as you await the resolution of the case in the appellate court.
Call Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers for Immediate Help
Our clients can help themselves by making sure that they always get to their lawyers all information requested in a timely manner. Your attorney can better advocate for you when he has all the information he needs to make a compelling claim. We can help you navigate the claims process in an efficient and effective manner.
At MG Law, our lawyers have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We realize that this is a stressful time, but we will aggressively fight to get the most that we can for your recovery. For more information about your chances of receiving compensation, contact us today. We will meet with you for a free consultation.
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