Hi, I’m John Medler, personal injury lawyer with The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys. Today I’d like to talk to you a little bit about the process that occurs when you hire a personal injury lawyer. This is the first time this is probably ever happened to you. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, so let me run through it a little bit for you.
The first thing that will happen is that your lawyer will want you to sign what’s called a retainer agreement. That’s just the agreement between you and the lawyer that says what the lawyers kind of get paid and the fact that the lawyer is going to be working for you.
The next thing is that your injury lawyer will have you sign some medical releases. Medical releases are necessary so that we can get your medical records and your bills. While your lawyer is getting your medical records and your bills from the different hospitals and other healthcare providers, we need to wait a little bit of time to make sure that you’re just about done with your treatment. It may take you some time to continue to get the medical treatment that you need.
One of the things that we don’t want to do in the case is rush trying to get you a settlement before your medical treatment is finished. Here’s the reason you may need some serious medical treatment down the line that you don’t know about yet, and if we settle your case too early, we’re not going to get you the compensation you deserve. So what we do is we wait a little bit to make sure you’re just about done with your medical treatment or at least we know what your medical treatment in the future is going to be.
At that point, we gather the medical records and the bills and the lawyer sends out what’s called a demand letter. The demand letter is a letter sent to the insurance company that demands to settle your case for a certain amount of money. Then we wait 30 days and we wait to see if the insurance company comes back to settle your case. So we wait 30 days to see if the insurance adjuster will settle your case.
Let’s assume the insurance adjusters not willing to settle your case for an amount you are happy with. The only option at that point is for your lawyer to file a lawsuit. Once the lawsuit happens, then you’re in for a long haul. What happens next is that the parties engage in what’s called ‘discovery.’ That’s where we get documents from them, they get documents from us, and we take a series of written statements from witnesses under oath. When that’s all finished, then we take depositions of experts and finally we go to trial. If we get that far, the jury decides whether or not the defendant owes you any money and if so, how much?
Now you may ask yourself, “Well when along that point do we settle the case?” And the answer is– you can settle any time along that point. Generally speaking, the closer you get to trial, the more willing both parties are to settle the case. But whether your case settles at the very beginning or at the very end of the process, we’re going to be with you every step of the way. For more information about what happens when you hire an Orange County personal injury lawyer, check out our website at www.MedlerLawFirm.com.