Just as most injuries take time to heal, injury claims take time to fully prepare and document the key evidence. If you rush the process, your claim may not be successful, or you could end up accepting less compensation than you rightfully deserve. Insurance adjusters don’t work for victims; they work for insurance companies who want to pay as little as possible. Victims should never settle their case before they make an appointment with an experienced car accident attorney.
The medical phase of a car accident case
In car accident cases, it is critical that you understand the scope of your medical problem before considering any settlement. Many victims begin their medical treatment with a trip to the emergency room. Some victims require surgeries for broken bones, damage to internal organs, bleeding, and a host of other problems. Those who are hurt in a car crash many also often need to treat with orthopedists, pain management doctors, chiropractors, and other physical specialists, including physical and occupational therapists. This treatment may last weeks, months, or even years.
Experienced lawyers won’t seriously consider trying to settle your claim until you and your doctors understand your diagnosis and your prognosis. Ideally, your injuries should heal completely or be substantially healed before trying to arrange a settlement or schedule the case for trial. This can take time, but it also ensures that you aren’t left footing bills for your treatment. Once your case settled or there is a verdict, you can’t ask for an adjustment because new medical problems ensued.
The legal phases of a car crash
As your lawyers, our work starts with an investigation of your car crash. This includes reviewing the police report and any footage of the collision, and potentially going to the scene of the accident.
All possible defendants need to be identified. In addition to the driver, the owners of the vehicle are often liable. A manufacturer may be responsible. The government entity or a tavern may also be responsible. We talk to witnesses and work with financial experts, or accident reconstruction experts (when needed), to build your claim for compensation.
We often work to settle your claim with the insurance companies for the defendants. This generally includes sending a demand letter followed by back and forth negotiations. However, if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, then we need to prepare for trial. The formal litigation process includes:
- Filing a complaint and responding to any pleadings by the defendants. We submit written questions to the defendants. Our lawyers then schedule depositions of the defendants and any key witnesses.
- We work with your doctors and employers to document your medical condition and your income loss. In some cases, we may need to depose your physicians through video testimony.
- Each side may file legal motions which have to be resolved.
Once the pleadings, discovery, and motions are completed, the case can be scheduled for trial.
There is generally no strict timeline involved with car accident cases other than the requirement that the case be filed within the statute of limitations and notice timelines for filing claims against the government.
In cases where the injuries heal within a few months and liability is clear, claims may move more quickly. In complex cases or cases where the insurance company won’t settle, it can take well over a year or so from the date of the car accident to have your case heard in court.
At Plattner Verderame PC, our Phoenix car accident lawyers understand how desperate you are to get on with your life. We work aggressively to balance your desire to return to normalcy with your demands for justice. To begin the process of moving your case forward, call us at 602.783.8793 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.