What Is The Car Accident Lawyer Process Like?
The car accident lawyer process, or working with a car accident lawyer, should be a painless experience for the injured party. Though, what probably comes as the biggest surprise to clients who hire a personal injury lawyer is the amount of time it takes to settle a claim.
In order to be sure to get maximum value for your personal injury settlement, your personal injury lawyer must put together several different aspects of your claim. Ultimately, these will be compiled and make up your demand package. Your demand package is a combination of the law firm’s theory of liability against the insurance company, supported by claims of damages directly related to the accident.
The Intake Process
The first step in understanding your car accident or slip and fall claim comes from the intake process. Some intake is done during the FREE CASE EVALUATION or phone consultation. During this time, the lawyer begins to understand the basic facts surrounding your accident. This includes a review of the police report, a discussion with you, and potentially a discussion with any witnesses who may have seen the accident.
Establishing The Claim
Once the intake is completed, we will start a claim for bodily injury with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. This serves to stop communication from the insurance company to you directly. It also puts the insurance company on notice that they have a potential lawsuit against them for the acts of one of their drivers.
The typical response from the insurance company is that they are investigating the claim, and they request we send them our theory of liability together with all documentation of injuries.
Confirming You Injuries And Treatment
If you are still treating, we will stay in touch with you periodically to confirm your treatment status. Once you have completed your treatment, we quickly place orders for all medical records and medical treatment you received from all providers. These serve to prove your injuries and establish your medical billing associated with the claim. Some of your billing will constitute medical liens which need to be paid through your settlement per federal or state law.
Establishing Medicare, Medicaid and ERISA Liens
While a medical provider can claim a lien against your settlement proceeds, they must do it by taking affirmative action. Medicare, Medicaid and some health insurance companies (ERISA LIENS) automatically have a lien created in their favor, depending upon whether they treated you for injuries related to the accident. It is your personal injury lawyer’s job to identify these liens and to be sure to address them from your settlement proceeds. A failure to do so can be catastrophic for you, financially. Identifying the liens prior to reaching a settlement ensures that your settlement is high enough to pay the liens and adequately compensate you for your loss.
Establishing And Documenting Lost Wages
If you have lost wages from your accident, your attorney will have your employer sign a Lost Wages Affidavit in conjunction with your demand package. This affidavit will be submitted in support of being reimbursed for lost wages. Quite often, your personal injury lawyer will need to defend the hours you missed, provide proof of income prior to the accident, and show your employer is being honest about the hours you missed and your rate of pay. Your medical records must also support the lost wages affidavit with notes indicating your physician wrote you out for work for the days in question.
Negotiating The Claim To Settlement
Negotiating your claim to settlement is a lengthy process. Insurance companies are notorious for low offers. They make attempts to de-value the medical treatment you received, and argue balances of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They attack your personal injury lawyer’s theory of liability and claim Contributory Negligence as a way to offer a lower settlement amount. We are accustomed to these strategies and we will defend against them at every turn.
Negotiating Your Medical Bills
Once we have decided together that you have your top offer, we will ask for your authority to negotiate your medical bills. While not all medical billing providers will reduce their billing, this quite often results in the lowering of your medical billing just prior to settlement. This serves to do one thing—put more money in your pocket. By minimizing the amount of your settlement that must go toward satisfying medical bills, we increase the amount you receive.
Receiving Your Check
The last aspect of your car accident lawyer process is distributing funds. Once you’ve reached settlement and signed a release for the settlement amount, your check typically arrives a week later. Your car accident lawyer process requires your car accident lawyer to deposit the funds into their NC State Bar trust account, and one day later we can disburse the funds to you and your medical providers. We also get paid at this time. You will sign off on a balance sheet or settlement sheet showing you all incoming funds, together with all disbursements. This way you know where every penny of your settlement funds went.
Tax Free Nature Of Settlement Proceeds
Most personal injury settlement proceeds are tax free. Exceptions would be where the settlement is specifically allocated to lost wages. In your typical injury settlement, this is not the case. For Workers’ Compensation claims, you will typically need to pay taxes on all lost and future wages being paid from the claim.
Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have questions about what the car accident lawyer process if like, or if you have general questions about a personal injury, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you today. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.