It’s A Strategy Thing
When you’ve been the victim of someone’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, your most prudent next step is to hire a lawyer to properly represent your interests in order to get you the compensation you deserve. You may wonder, after hiring the lawyer, what she does to ensure that your rights are protected. While I choose to courtesy copy my clients on all correspondence I send out to anyone in my clients’ cases, a lot of lawyers don’t do that and you’ll be left wondering “what’s going on” with your claim.
Well, here’s what should be going on.
1. Initial Investigation – After meeting with you, my client, I obtain the incident report or police report. Immediate contact with the insurance company for the negligent party is established and the facts of the incident are provided. If appropriate, an investigator may be employed to explore potential liability issues or concerns.
2. Treatment – If you have not yet seen a doctor for your injuries, I will facilitate that in order to establish a course of medical treatment that the defense insurance adjuster can consider when evaluating the potential jury verdict value of your injury claim. If there is no treatment, the claim will have no settlement value.
3. Evaluation – Once your treatment is concluded or your condition has plateaued, it’s time to evaluate your claim. Your doctor’s diagnosis and opinions are considered as I apply my 30 years of knowledge and experience gained as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney to arrive at a figure which I feels represents the fair settlement value of your claim.
4. Demand – Based on my evaluation, I will make a monetary demand on the tortfeasor’s insurance company. Negotiation then ensues and, if the claim can resolve for an amount within the projected settlement range, all good! If not, I will file the Superior Court complaint and begin to move the claim through litigation.
5. Litigation – While most claims do settle before trial, oftentimes, insurance companies will not put fair money on a claim until the lawyer shows she’s serious by filing the complaint. The statute of limitations requires that a complaint must be filed within 2 years from an injury but I never like to get that close to the statute. If I cannot get your case settled within the first year, I will file the complaint and begin the litigation.
6. Trial – When I first meet with a new client, it’s my task to predict, as best I can, what will happen at trial. If the insurance company has made no reasonable offer, trying the case is an easy decision. The insurance company has left me no alternative. But, if decent money has been offered, I counsel my clients long and hard on the uncertainty a trial can bring vs. the security that a “sure thing” settlement can promise. My motto in this situation? A bird in the hand is always better than the possibility of two in the bush.