The process of filing a claim can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you are trying to recover from serious injuries.
Every person’s case is different; this is an overview of the process.
Retainer and Fee Agreement When you hire D’Amore Law Group, you will sign paperwork that allows us to investigate your claim and work on your behalf.
You will also sign a Contingency Fee Agreement, which means you don’t pay attorneys fee unless we are able to secure a recovery for you. Our fee is a percentage of the total recovery we are able to secure for you.
Notice of Representation Your personal injury attorney will send a notice of representation to the person responsible for your injury, to their insurance company, and to your insurance company, if applicable.
From then on, the defendant and their insurance company are prohibited from contacting you. Your injury lawyer should will work with the insurance companies directly, and handle all of the paperwork.
Reviewing Records You will need to sign a number of authorizations that will allow your attorney to gather your medical records, your insurance information, and verify any claims for income loss and other damages.
Your lawyer can begin to assess your case value only when all the related records are gathered.
Demand and Negotiation After a thorough investigation, your attorney will make a demand for settlement from the at-fault party and their insurance company. The insurance company will either make a counter offer for settlement, or deny your claim.
If the insurance company makes an offer you approve, your claim will be settled. If not, your lawyers may have to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Settlement of a Claim If your attorneys can come to a fair settlement of your claim, you will sign a release that says you accept the settlement and will no longer pursue this claim.
Filing a Lawsuit If your claim does not settle, and you and your injury attorney mutually determine it is in your best interest, a lawsuit will be filed on your behalf.
Complaint Your case will be detailed in a court document known as a “complaint”. Once the complaint is filed, a summons will be served on the defendant, as every state requires that the defendant receive notice of the complaint.
The defendant is then given an opportunity to respond to the allegations by filing a court document known as an “answer”.
Discovery and Depositions When a defendant and his/her insurance company receive notice of the complaint, an attorney will step in to represent the defendant. You will then begin the process of “discovery”, which requires both parties to exchange documentation about the claim.
There may also be recorded or videotaped statements taken from you, the defendant, and any important witnesses or other parties. These statements are known as “depositions”, and your attorney will help you prepare for yours.
Mediation, Arbitration, or Judicial Settlement Conference Some jurisdictions require the plaintiff and defendant to present their case in a formal settlement meeting. A judge or neutral third-party person reviews the case to see if it can be settled without going to trial.
Pretrial In a pretrial conference, a judge will meet with all parties and review the evidence, witnesses and schedules. A trial date will be selected by the court, and a judge may be assigned.
Trial Getting a court date can sometimes be a challenge due to court scheduling. As a result, it may be two to five years after your injury before you are granted a trial date. The trial process is time-consuming and expensive.
Only a small percentage of cases go to trial, and some will settle before or during the trial instead of going to verdict.
Disbursal and closing process If your case is resolved at trial, the law firm will begin the process of payments to your medical providers or other lien holders. Your attorney’s fees and the costs the office advanced on your behalf will be taken out of the settlement or verdict funds.
The lawyer should prepare a full accounting of the funds and present it to you for review and approval. This process involves a lot of communication with insurance companies and providers. It can take several months to complete.