The process for resolving a personal injury claim is divided into two sections: 1) pre-litigation and 2) litigation. The pre-litigation phase involves everything which occurs prior to the filing of a lawsuit. The litigation phase involves everything that occurs starting with the filing of a lawsuit. This article addresses the pre-litigation process.
Following an accident, an individual should immediately seek medical treatment for any injuries which were sustained as a result of the accident. He or she should follow their medical care provider’s instructions and be an advocate for his or her own medical care. The primary focus of the injured party in the pre-litigation phase is to resolve the injuries sustained in the accident as soon as possible and to make sure that all injuries are properly documented by his or her providers. In addition, the injured person should receive documentation from his or her employer with regard to any lost wages and keep a daily journal beginning on the date of the accident to memorialize the events of the accident and the personal experience thereafter. During this period of time, it is critical that the client stays in communication with the attorney to make sure that his or her present status is updated and current.
When an individual has resolved his or her injuries, a demand letter is prepared and forwarded to the responsible party’s insurance adjuster. The demand letter describes how the accident occurred, the damage to the vehicles and the parties involved; the injuries sustained and a description of medical treatment; a delineation of lost wages and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident; and a description of the pain, suffering and inconvenience experienced by
the injured person. At the end of the demand letter, a monetary amount will be demanded for settlement. Copies of all relevant documents including medical bills and records are also included.
The attorney and the insurance adjuster thereafter attempt to negotiate a settlement. If successful, the settlement amount is paid by the insurance company and the claim is resolved. If not, the attorney and client discuss whether or not to proceed to the litigation phase.
If you have been injured as the result of an act of another, contact an experienced attorney at the law firm of Paulson & Paulson, PLC to protect and understand your rights.