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The Timetable – Settling Your Case – What You Can Expect

My job is to win your case.  I do this by gathering all the important information, evaluating the case, discussing it with you, and then telling the insurance company what it will take to settle the case….or we’ll go to trial.

If there is one thing people ask me more than anything else, it is “When will we settle the case?  When can I get my money? When will this be over?”

Here are some observations I have developed over the years:

  • It is almost impossible to get the insurance company to make a fair offer until you have completely recovered, or until you have reached what doctors call “maximum medical improvement” – that is, until you are as good as you are going to get.   Why? Because insurance companies insist that you sign a paper releasing all your claims against them before sending a check. And you don’t want to sign that paper until you know you won’t need more medical treatment.  The easiest way to remember this is:  If your doctor says you cannot get any better, then it’s time to settle the case.
  • The faster that you supply the insurance company with relevant information, the better your chances of settling quickly.  Insurance employees and attorneys are trained to be skeptical about you and your case. If you are able to provide the insurance company with records of your health before the accident and about  your treatment and bills since the accident, it makes it easier for them to believe your damages.
  • It takes longer to settle a case when there are conflicting accounts of how the accident happened, or whose fault it is.
  • If the insurance company has all the information, and it isn’t making offers that are fair, the most reliable way to make them offer more is to file suit and ask for trial.  This may take time, but if you have a good case it’s the best way to make the insurance company offer you a fair settlement.
  • When you file suit, the settlement process usually slows down. Why? Because the court system is slow, and the insurance company won’t hire lawyers if they think they aren’t thorough.

What do I do to make your case settle faster?  To get you the money you are entitled to?

  • As soon as you agree I am your lawyer, I have you sign authorizations that let me ask for all of your medical records.
  • As soon as you tell me you  have completed treatment with any doctor I request the records,  review them, and send copies to the insurance company once I have discussed them with you.
  • If you have a permanent injury, or it is clear that the insurance company will question whether the accident caused your injury, I will ask your doctor to write a letter about it.
  • If the insurance company is likely to  question how the accident happened, I will either talk to witnesses or, with your permission, recommend you let me hire a detective to do that. I may also recommend hiring an accident reconstruction expert.
  • Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, we submit a settlement package to the insurance company.  This contains a copy of all your medical records, the accident report, any pictures showing your injuries, and anything else that I think will help the insurance company make a decision to pay you money.  It also contains our demand – the amount you and I decide to ask for.