From start to finish, if we accept your case, it is handled with the highest amount of care, diligence and client service. The following is a summary of how we handle your case:
Initial Case Setup
- We conduct a detailed interview with the client focusing on how the accident occurred, what the injuries are and what other damages appear to be related at that time. This interview usually lasts at least an hour.
- Investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. This can include getting the accident report, photographs of the scene and/or the vehicles, as well as interviews with witnesses and the investigating officer. If criminal charges are involved, we do follow up with the court to find out the disposition.
- Investigation into all available means of insurance that may apply to the case. We verify that the negligent driver’s (liability) insurance was in effect. We also will look to see if the negligent driver had any secondary sources of coverage that may apply. Research is done into our own client’s insurance to determine the limits of uninsured and undersinsured coverage available, as well as the amount, if any, of medpay benefits available. We don’t stop there. We delve into underlying sources of coverage that may apply to you by virtue of household members living with you at the time of the accident. We also verify and explain to you your rights and benefits with regard to your own health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other health benefits. We then put all potential insurance companies on notice of our involvement and require them to direct all future dealings with our firm. You never have to deal with the insurance adjuster again.
- We order all of your initial medical records and bills for treatment incurred to date. We have a dedicated medical records staff that is in charge of tracking your records and ensuring they are received promptly. Your records are reviewed within 24 hours of our receipt and summarized into a digital medical chronology for our future use.
- While you are undergoing medical treatment for your injuries, we stay in consistent contact with you to make sure we are kept fully informed of how your treatment is progressing. This is done through routine client contacts every 30 days. At these contacts, we want to know the medical providers you are still seeing and what the providers are telling you. We also ask specific questions to help document your continued pain and suffering and/or lost wage claim. We also help keep monthly track of all of your expenses such as medical bills, prescriptions, out of work documentation, etc.
- After every contact with you to get an update on your condition, we in turn contact the insurance adjuster to discuss your continued recovery. We will let the adjuster know what providers you are still treating with, as well as the amount of your current expenses. We also use this opportunity to see if the adjuster has any issues with your case that we can take the immediate steps to correct.
- As you progress in your medical recovery, we continually order updated medical records and bills, and keep your digital medical chronology updated. This allows us to pass along up to date information about your case to an insurance adjuster that may call us to check on your recovery.
- While we are not medical doctors and will never give you advice on your medical treatment, we do use the 30 day contacts to make sure we see no “legal” issues that may be occurring with the type or length of medical treatment you are getting. We use our years of experience in dealing with insurance companies and trying cases in front of a jury to anticipate future arguments they may be making about your recovery. If we anticipate a problem, we can discuss your options with you so that you can in turn make informed legal decisions that may affect your claim. This is another important reason to hire an experienced attorney at the start of your case rather than after you have finished medical treatment.
- In addition to keeping a close eye on you during your recovery, we will also help out in other areas such as helping you to collect medpay benefits and working with your health insurance carrier to make sure your bills are being paid. We also frequently step in help you with medical providers that may be harassing you for payment so that we keep the stress you are under to a minimum.
- Your case is not assigned one dedicated staff person. Instead, our firm truly works as a team on all cases. This means that you can usually call in and get an answer to your question right away as most members of the firm will have knowledge about your case. However, the most important thing for any client to remember in our firm is that you first and foremost get to talk to your attorney. Our policy is that all client calls are returned same day by the attorney (unless the attorney is out of the office for a trial, deposition, etc). If you are not satisfied with any aspect of our client service, we have a Client Advocate that we have dedicated to our clients to do nothing but make things right for them.
Settlement of Your Claim
- There is no telling how long it will take you to recover from your injuries, but once you are released from medical care, we work swiftly to get your case ready to begin negotiations. While we have most of your medical records and bills at this point due to our frequent ordering/ tracking done while you are recovering, we will order any last records or bills needed. We then put receipt of these documents on high priority status and our dedicated medical records staff calls frequently to get the records in as quickly as possible.
- Usually within 24-48 hours of receipt of all of your medical records, bills and any other documents needed, your attorney will draft and send to the adjuster what is called a “settlement demand package”. This is a document that summarizes your medical treatment and recovery, as well as all of our itemized expenses that we will claim. It also addresses your pain and suffering and loss of quality of life issues.
- It is important to know that insurance adjusters handle hundreds of claims. As such, it can sometimes take them several weeks to review the demand package. We have learned early on that if we start calling to check the status, we can often get them to move review of your demand package to the top of their pile. Therefore, three weeks after we mail the demand package to the adjuster, we start calling to push to adjuster to review the information and make a formal offer of settlement.
- When the adjuster makes the initial offer to settle, it will start a flurry of phone activity between the adjuster and your attorney. Arguments and counter-arguments will be passed back and forth as we try to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance adjuster. During this time, you are kept updated on all conversations with the adjuster and we will give you advice on the value range we believe your case should settle in. You are also in complete control over the amount of money you are willing to settle for. The negotiation phase will usually lasts no more than a few weeks unless additional documentation is required by the insurance adjuster (ie, the adjuster demands to see your prior medical records).
- If we are able to reach a mutually agreeable amount to settle your claim, we are usually able to get the settlement check in within 7-10 days. There is a great deal of work that goes on during this time. We must contact all of your medical providers and get all of your balances owing (if any) confirmed. We may also need to audit your medical bills if Medicare or Medicaid is involved. Much of where an attorney can spend their time is in negotiations with medical providers. Sometimes medical providers will claim items that are not specifically related to your injuries and work needs to be done with those providers to have those charges removed to maximize the money in your pocket.
If the insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, then we may recommend to you to file a lawsuit. If this occurs, then the process will take longer. Read here about How a Lawsuit Works.