It’s a matter of trade-offs. You, the consumer, are caught between two possibilities when you’re involved in an accident. On one hand the insurance company is willing to pay some quick, easy money as full payment for the claim. You will have money to get you past the accident, but you may have some aches and pains or more serious injuries to deal with on your own. If you hire a lawyer, the lawyer will attempt to file a claim with the insurance company to make you whole, that is like it never happened but it takes time to get the process done.
By making you whole, it means that you will get the treatment you need so that your injuries are totally mended. It also means that it’s the lawyer’s goal to regain all losses suffered as a result of the accident, whether medical or financial. This can include time off from work to obtain treatment or other business having to do with the accident, among other financial hardships an accident can bring.
One of the first steps in any case is to investigate any insurance coverage that may apply to you in this accident. Certainly the other driver’s policy will determine a great deal of the coverage, but your own policy may include uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, as well as medical payments to you for an accident you’re involved in. If you are living with a family member, other coverages may be available through their policies. One of the reasons to hire a lawyer, rather than attempt to navigate this on your own, is the lawyer’s familiarity with the territory. Your lawyer will investigate all the possible areas of coverage for your case.
Once coverage has been determined, a medical assessment needs to be done with your doctor, or a doctor with whom the lawyer has established relationships. Treatment plans can then be set up to get the medical treatment and therapy needed to restore your health.
It is only after all the medical treatment is finished that a claim or demand is then filed with the insurance company. This is actually where the negotiations begin. All of the adverse you have suffered as a result of the accident will be documented in the demand, including medical expenses, other financial loses, and pain and suffering. Depending on the medical treatment required, it may take several months, and in some exceptional cases years, to arrive at this point in the process.
Most cases at the Richard Harris Law Firm settle in the negotiation phase. However, due to disagreements over fault, or a divergence of opinion over the proper value to fairly resolve the case, a litigated settlement or lawsuit may be required. Your attorney will apprise you of the options available. If it is determined that the only way to obtain a fair settlement is to file a lawsuit, that will be done at this point. Otherwise, a settlement is agreed upon and proper documents are signed and a financial distribution takes place.
Preparing for a court case is a longer process, which involves several distinct phases. The discovery process allows communication to proceed between law firms to produce documents and to allow parties to the case to give sworn testimony regarding various facts of the case. Depositions are obtained from parties close to the case, police officers who responded, medical providers who treated the victim, among others. The resolution may involve arbitration, mediation, or even a trial where attorneys argue the case in a court with a judge and jury present.
Why does the legal process take so long?
It comes from the lawyer’s objective to make you whole again. The Richard Harris Law Firm employs lawyers who are familiar with this territory and know what needs to be done to achieve that objective. The trade-off is time. The legal process takes time and requires a level of accuracy that will withstand the attacks of adversaries who want to stop the process. Building this type of case requires the talents of gifted attorneys, and that’s the commitment you get when you retain our firm. Call us today for a consultation at (702) 444-4444.