What To Expect In A Vehicle Collision Claim
Almost all vehicle collisions end the same way. Over 95 percent of these matters settle out of court. However, just like every car wreck is different, every claim follows a different path to settlement. Sometimes, the way is straight and direct. Other times, it’s very long and circuitous. Normally, it’s somewhere in between.
There are some other predictable elements of a car crash claim. Despite what TV commercials imply, insurance companies do whatever they can to delay, reduce, or deny compensation to victims. San Jose personal injury attorneys, on the other hand, do whatever they can to quickly deliver fair compensation to victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Prompt and proper medical treatment is an essential element of fair compensation. If victims don’t see doctors almost immediately after an accident, the insurance company will almost certainly later claim that the victim’s injuries must not have been very severe.
Attorneys connect victims with doctors to ensure that they get prompt treatment. This connection also addresses the “proper treatment” element. Many car crash injuries, like whiplash, are difficult to diagnose. The violent motion of a car crash causes this injury. Unless it’s treated aggressively and rightly, whiplash could cause paralysis.
These same things apply in other areas, such as vehicle repair and replacement. Generally, attorneys connect victims with such providers who do not charge anything upfront for their products and/or services.
Once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, attorneys normally begin the settlement process by sending a demand letter to the insurance company. If the case settles too quickly, the settlement might not fully include all future damages, such as future lost wages and future necessary medical expenses.
This letter demands a sum of money in exchange for a liability waiver. If liability is crystal clear, the insurance company has a duty to quickly settle the claim at this point. In most cases, however, liability is at least somewhat murky. Insurance companies use this murkiness as an excuse to prolong the affair.
So, to put pressure on the insurance company, most attorneys file legal paperwork at this point. This move also preserves the victim/plaintiff’s legal rights. The statute of limitations clock is normally ticking down by now.
The discovery period normally follows. During discovery, most victim/plaintiffs must provide copies of documents, like tax returns, submit to medical examinations, and provide deposition testimony. Your lawyer also gets a chance to ask questions and review documents related to the insurance company’s defenses.
If a case is unresolved at this point, the judge usually refers it to mediation. During mediation, a neutral third party evaluates the case, listens to brief arguments from both sides, and then works to forge a settlement. This process occurs in a rather informal, non-courtroom environment.
If both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation usually works. “Good faith” typically means that both the victim and insurance company are determined to reach an agreement.
Reach Out to a Diligent Santa Clara County Lawyer
Most cases settle out of court, but the path to fair compensation is not always straight and narrow. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Jose, contact Solution Now Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.