There is a lot of information out there on finding and meeting with a personal injury lawyer in Denver. There is also quite a bit of information about receiving compensation, settling your case or filing a lawsuit. But what happens between those events? What is the standard lifecycle of a personal injury case? Many times, personal injury cases are the first time someone has dealt with a legal issue. What can you expect?
- Finding and Meeting with a Lawyer
Of course, the process starts with actually obtaining legal counsel. Once you find a handful of denver personal injury attorneys you want to meet face to face, you will set up meetings with those attorneys. In these initial consultations, you will be checking each other out- the lawyers will be evaluating your case and you will be making a decision on who you want to represent you through the process. Once you find an attorney that you feel comfortable with, and they want to tackle your case, you will sign contracts. You want to find and retain an attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
- Initial Case Evaluation
Immediately after you sign with an attorney, your attorney will send out letters to any insurance carriers that are involved. This will include both the insurance carrier of the person at fault for the accident as well as your own insurance. From then on, all communication should be through your attorney. if you do get a call from an insurance adjuster, just point them in the direction of your attorney. Your lawyer will also be collecting investigation materials such a police report and photos of the accident scene and vehicles. Throughout this time, your lawyer will be strategically speaking with the insurance adjuster, giving them information, but doing so in a way that helps your case.
- Medical Treatments
If you sign with an attorney shortly after the accident, you probably are still in the middle of treatment. It is this portion of your case that probably takes the longest. While you are treating with your medical providers, your attorney might periodically check in with you and your treatment progress.
Your Denver personal injury lawyer will also be continually requested medical records and reviewing them as you treat. This allows your lawyer to notice and flag any potential issues with your case.
- Demand/ Settlement Package
When you have been released from medical treatment, let your attorney know right away. From there they will do a final round of medical record request. Keep in mind, it can take some time to get records. Some medical facilities put requests from lawyer at the bottom of their priority list.
Some lawyers will also request ALL of your records at this time, instead of intermediately requesting throughout your case. Don’t worry if this is the case, this option can save you money in costs, and if your treatment is straight forward, it is harmless.
As the medical records filter in, your attorney will read them thoroughly. They will then put together a “demand letter.” These letters lay out your case in one document. It will include information on how the crash occurred, detail who is at fault and why, include exhibits proving your case and above all will include a detailed narrative of all of the medical treatment you have gone through.
Your attorney will then send this along will copies of all documents, including all of your medical records and billing records. At the end of the letter, your attorney will “demand” a settlement amount. Your denver personal injury lawyer will probably discuss what a fair demand would be with you prior to mailing the letter.
At this time in the case, people tend to get antsy, and are looking to settle quickly. You want your lawyer to take their time with drafting this letter. The better it is, the better your settlement will be. This is also when your lawyer learns everything about your case, including seemingly small medical details. Let your attorney take their time, it will make negotiations quicker in the long run!
- Adjuster Evaluation and Negotiations.
Once sending the demand package, it usually takes the adjuster 4-6 weeks to review the documents and come back with an offer. Once an offer is made, you will hear quite a bit from your attorney. Your attorney and the adjuster will go back and forth, making offers and counter offers. While negotiations are happening, your attorney will also be looking at your medical bills and see who paid them. You might need to pay back providers on liens, or payback certain health insurance facilities. Knowing outstanding bills allows your attorney to know exactly what amount of money the case needs to settle at in order to put money in your pocket.
- Settlement and/or Litigation
If you and your lawyer can agree on a rate offered by the insurance company, then the case will be settled. Releases and other documents are signed and checks sent out. If no settlement can be reached, your attorney might file a lawsuit on your case.
No case is the same, so your attorney might work your case a little outside of this structure, if need be.