From Injury to Settlement: Understanding Your California Personal Injury Case
Most people are intimidated by the process of a personal injury case and speaking with a personal injury lawyer. They may have concerns about high legal fees or worry that the responsible party won’t be able to pay for their medical bills, property damage and pain & suffering.
We’re here to tell you that all these fears can easily be put to rest.
Legal advice does not have to be expensive. Speaking with us is not uncomfortable. And the insurance companies do not run out of money.
Our legal advice is inexpensive because the consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis.
This simply means that we get a percentage of the total recovery. And if there is no recovery, there is no fee! One of the first things we do is investigate whether the at-fault party had insurance that would cover him or her for the accident they caused.
To help ease your mind a bit, we’ve provided a simple outline of the basic phases of a personal injury case – because everything is easier when you know what to expect.
The first thing we want to do is meet with you to discuss the facts surrounding your accident. This is a very informal, no-cost meeting where you simply share your story, so we can understand what happened. Then, we can truly determine if you have a case.
Even if you think your injuries are minor, a consultation is still worth your time. Minor injuries can become long-lasting if you do not receive the right medical attention. Also, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages, no matter how minor they may be. But we will never move forward with a case unless we’re confident that you will get something out of it.
Once we decide to work together, we will perform a thorough and independent investigation of your accident. This means we will request and review the police report, work with you regarding your medical treatment plan, track down witnesses to get their statements, etc. The purpose of this phase is to build your case from the outset, make sure you are getting the proper medical care, and to understand your injuries and how they are going to affect your life moving forward.
The Demand Package
After the investigation and a clear understanding of your injuries, we will submit a demand package to the insurance company (that is, if we choose not to skip this step and file a lawsuit against the responsible party). The package will include a demand letter laying out the facts of the accident, explaining why the at-fault party is legally responsible, and a summary of your injuries and damages.
Along with the letter, we will submit the medical reports from your treatment and any helpful evidence such as the police report, witness statements and pictures. Your case may settle through this process. If it doesn’t, we will file a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company rejects our settlement demand or only gives “low ball” offers, the next step will be to file a lawsuit against the responsible party – the defendant. In some cases, we do our best to negotiate and settle the case prior to filing a lawsuit. But in many cases, you have to file a lawsuit to create leverage and to show the insurance company you mean business.
Once we file a lawsuit, the legal process called litigation begins. This is where both sides use legal instruments such as discovery and depositions to build our case and eventually gear it up for trial. Just because the case is in litigation does not mean it cannot be settled. About 95% to 99% of cases in litigation settle without going to trial. Of course, we will guide you and prepare you every step of the way.
Collecting Your Settlement
Whether your case gets settled or reaches a verdict through trial, we won’t be done until you collect your payment and the case is closed. At this point, you may be concerned about legal fees. But remember, we don’t get paid until you reach a settlement or receive a verdict. Then, and only then, will we collect our fees.
To understand more about the process, contact us today.