What To Expect From The Legal Process
At your first meeting with us, you will meet with a lawyer, normally the one who will handle your case throughout. We will discuss your background and the details of your case. We will have you sign a contract that allows us to become your lawyers. This contract will list the details of our representation, including how we will be paid. Usually, we are paid a percentage of the amount that we collect for your injuries.
After you hire us, we will investigate your case. We will get any governmental incident reports, contact witnesses, gather general evidence, confirm insurance coverage, and obtain medical evidence.
We will get from you a detailed description of your injuries, the names of any doctors/health care professionals treating you, hospitals where you have been treated, and your prior medical history. During your medical treatment, we will be updating information on your medical condition and updating your case records regularly.
It is important that you keep all of your medical appointments. Failure to go is rude to your doctor and may damage your case! If you cannot keep a doctor’s appointment, reschedule in advance. It also is important that you explain all of your injuries and symptoms to the doctor. This will help the doctor treat your injuries and help us evaluate your case. Until your medical problems are taken care of or the doctor releases you, you should remain under the doctor’s care and follow his/her instructions.
In addition to the responsible party’s insurance, other insurance policies may provide benefits and coverage for your injuries. Your health insurance and your automobile insurance may help pay your medical bills.
It is best for us to have a copy of your health insurance booklet, your automobile insurance policies and their declaration sheets. This will allow us to help coordinate the various types of coverage available. We also will review these policies to see if they contain any reimbursement provisions.
Be sure to provide any health insurance information to your doctor. This allows bills to be sent directly to the health plan for payment.
Medical payment coverage often is part of your automobile insurance policy or is held by the owner of the premises upon which you were injured. If this coverage is available, we will process your claims under it at no charge.
Uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage may be available for your case. We will explain this in more detail if these coverages apply.
Under some circumstances, the health care providers who care for you may also file a lien against your settlement for the balance of your bill after the health insurance has paid their portion of the bill. We will explain this in more detail if these balance billing issues come up in your case.
Every injury case is unique, but most have some common features, such as what damages are recoverable. Each of these allowable damages is described below:
- Pain and suffering: This legal term explains how your injuries have affected your life.
- Medical bills: All reasonable medical charges for treatment of injuries caused by the defendant are part of your damages. In order to present your case, we will need copies of all of your doctor and hospital bills, and receipts for prescriptions and medical appliances (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.). Please send these to our office regularly.
- Lost income: If you have lost time from work because of the injuries you suffered, you may claim this lost income. You need to keep track of any time you missed from work because you were in the hospital, under a doctor’s no‐work order or attending medical appointments. We will work with your employer to confirm the amount of your lost income.
Most cases are settled after a period of negotiation with the insurance company or premises owner. Once you have completed your medical treatment and we have received all of the information to show your injuries and damages, we will prepare a settlement demand package.
Your settlement demand will show why the other party was responsible for your injuries. It will describe your injuries, the medical care required, the cost of that care, your income losses and how the injuries affected you. We will not send out the settlement demand package without discussing it with you first. Once it is prepared, we will promptly seek a fair and reasonable settlement of your case.
After issuing the settlement demand package, we will try to negotiate a settlement. This means that we will go back and forth between our office and the insurance company or premises owner, working out a settlement figure that is fair to you. The majority of cases settle at this stage. The decision on whether a settlement offer will be accepted is yours. We will give you the advice to help you make that decision.
If we cannot get the insurance company or premises owner to make a fair settlement offer, we may need to sue those responsible for your injuries. We will not file a lawsuit without first discussing it with you. If this occurs, a second lawyer at Jones | Raczkowski will review your case, bringing a set of fresh eyes in an effort to obtain a fair resolution. Since most personal injury cases settle in the negotiation process, more details of the lawsuit process will be given if one is necessary in your case.
We hope that this information helps you understand what to expect in the handling of your personal injury case. If you have questions about any of this information, please ask your lawyer for an explanation. We appreciate you Jones | Raczkowski to handle your injury case, and we look forward to assisting you.
Our business is built upon satisfied clients and their referrals. There is never a charge for an appointment with a member of your family, a friend or a co‐worker. We will be happy to discuss their case with them in detail.