Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I contact the insurance carrier or the person responsible?
A. That’s a big NO. Upon hiring us, we will make contact with them to avoid miscommunications. Any questions regarding your claim should only be discussed with your attorney. If the insurance carrier or the person responsible for your injuries tries to contact you, direct them to our office.
Q. What do I do with any medical and rehabilitation bills?
A. You may elect to pay for your medical and rehabilitation bills through your medical insurance, and, if available, medical pay portion of your automobile insurance policy (commonly called med pay). If health insurance is unavailable, we will work with your healthcare providers and try putting your medical treatment on a lien. Even though you are ultimately responsible for all your medical bills, collection on those bills may be delayed pending the resolution of your personal injury claim. Your medical bills will then be paid out of your recovery.
Q. How long does it take to resolve claim issues?
A. The process can vary considerably, depending on many factors, including cooperation of the person or entity causing your injury, and length of any rehabilitation. Generally, once your recovery from your injuries is coming to an end, we will compile all of your medical and treatment records, bills, and proof of any other related expenses. When we have collected all of the pertinent records, we will make a demand and negotiate your claims. Some uncontested claims can be resolved quickly; however, if the filing of a lawsuit is necessary, it could take a year or more.
Q. When is a lawsuit necessary?
A. Most clients prefer that their claims are resolved quickly and without the need of filing a lawsuit. We are always sensitive to our client’s wishes and do our best to ensure quick and amicable resolution of their claim. Unfortunately, the filing of a lawsuit may be necessary because of a lack of cooperation from the other party/parties and/or the involved insurance carrier(s). As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.
Q. What happens if settlement negotiations fail?
A. If settlement negotiations fail, litigation will begin with the filing of the first document, called the Complaint, with the Court. This is the beginning of a lawsuit. A copy of the Complaint is then served on the defendants.
Q. What happens after a defendant is served?
A. The defendant generally has 30 days in which to answer the charges in the Complaint. With the filing of a Complaint, it is likely that your case will have already received a trial date, which may be as much as 12 to 15 months away. With recent budget cuts and crowded court calendars, the process could even be longer.
Q. What happens if an insurance company decides to make an offer before going to court?
A. This sometimes happens, although the carrier(s) may delay making any offers until the 11th hour before trial. At other times, an insurance company may negotiate ahead of any set trial date. Regardless, rest assured, we will present you with any settlement offers made prior to trial.
Q. What happens between the filing of a Complaint and the actual trial?
A. During this interim period, the defendants and our office will both explore the merits of the case by way of Discovery. We will both look at the liability (who’s at fault) and damage (what are the losses) aspects of the case. This Discovery phase may require the parties to answer written questions, produce documents, testify in a deposition, and possibly be present for a medical examination. When you are required to participate in any part of the Discovery process, we will fully prepare you in advance and be present with you.
Q. How often will I hear from you?
A. Throughout the life of your claim/lawsuit, we will communicate with you with status updates. Of course, you are welcome to call us for status updates as you please. There may be a period of time when you won’t hear anything at all about your case. Not to worry! We haven’t forgotten you. All elements of the case will be prepared for Trial Readiness or for a Final Management Conference. Before the trial, we will thoroughly counsel you on trial procedures and issues.
Q. Can the Court try to intervene and facilitate a resolution before trial?
A. The court calendars are very crowed and a judge may order that the parties involved attempt to resolve their dispute by way of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which could involve arbitration, mediation or various other forms of private settlement conferences. If this occurs, we will fully apprise you and provide counselling before participation in any conference or hearing.