How long can I expect until my case is complete?
November 4th, 2016 by admin
This article is by Joel Farar, our Los Angeles partner attorney, and one of the top car accident lawyers in Los Angeles. Taking the step to file a personal injury claim is monumental. You probably have many questions about the process and are confused about when and if you will get any money. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer regarding when a check will come. Consequently, there is no guarantee that you will win your case. The burden of proof rests on you and your attorney’s shoulders. You must be able to prove to the court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that due to the other party’s negligence, you have suffered greatly. Regardless, all cases have a similar process that can help ease your mind.
Consultation With Farar & Lewis
First, you must realize that not every person who has been in an accident has grounds for a lawsuit. During your initial consultation, we will review your potential case. Because we work on a contingency basis, we do not take on cases that we cannot win. However, even if we show the court irrefutable proof, there is always the chance that we can lose. You have the right to appeal the court’s decision, but this can extend your compensation payment date out even further. Keep in mind, you can also lose on appeal. The good news is that if you have injuries that are well documented, the chances of not getting any compensation are slim.
The Demand Letter
One important thing for you to remember during this process is that all cases do not end in court. Many cases can be settled through negotiations. When we first take on your case, we will review the facts and make an informed decision regarding your compensation amount. We use a process of calculations to determine your pain and suffering, and we add that to the cost of your medical bills. We start with a demand letter to the insurance company. Because we have so much experience dealing with these companies, we know how they, typically, act and react to different situations. In most cases, they will try to fight the dollar amount. Some will entertain negotiations while others flat our refuse.
If they are willing to negotiate on the matter, we go back and forth regarding the dollar value of the claim. In these cases, the insurance company knows that they have a slim chance of winning in court. Remember, they want to pay as little as possible toward your claim as possible. Trials are a very expensive process that the insurance company wants to avoid. They must pay for their attorney’s time, and it can be a quite long and drawn out process. If they can settle quickly, they can close the claim and move on.
Negotiations can be a battle that includes many back and forth conversations. This process can happen in a meeting or through phone calls and emails. You must decide, with the assistance of your attorney, what you are willing to take for your claim. The insurance company has a bottom dollar, and you have a bottom dollar. The goal is to get in the general neighborhood, on price, so that the claim can be settled. The good news is that about 95 percent of cases in the United States are settled out of court.
The Court Trial
For the five percent of cases that never made it through negotiations, we end up in court. Here, you can choose to have a trial by jury or by a judge. We must prove our case to the court. The cases that end up in court are usually the ones with major issues where high dollar amounts are requested. In this scenario, we must bring in expert witnesses, doctors’ reports, and any other evidence we have. Trials can take one day or a couple weeks to complete. It all depends on how many witnesses must be called, and how long their testimonies are. Once the verdict has been handed down, the insurance company is required to pay. However, there is another loophole to consider. They can appeal the decision and further draw out the payment process.
In most cases, the insurance company doesn’t appeal. They may appeal when the compensation amount is in the millions, like for a wrongful death claim. Typically, you will get your money within 30 days after the end of the trial.
One thing to keep in mind is the more money we ask for the more the insurance company will bulk. Because the process is not cut and dry, there are many variables that can and will affect your outcome.