5 Stages of an Auto Accident Case
So, you’ve been involved in an auto accident and believe you may have a claim for injuries against the other driver. If you’re in Florida, you have special rules to follow in order to preserve your right to recover financial compensation. Hiring an experienced Kissimmee auto accident lawyer is usually your best bet for maximizing your recovery. Depending on the specifics of your case, most cases will follow five basic stages before money is recovered.
Stage 1: Consultation
First, you will need to sit down with a lawyer and discuss your injuries, the collision, and share vital information, such as your medical treatment and any pre-existing conditions that you may have. The consultation should always be free in a personal injury case. If someone attempts to charge you for a consultation, you should look elsewhere.
Stage 2: Treatment
Most injuries associated with auto accidents will require a good deal of medical care. From chiropractic treatment and x-rays to more advanced orthopedic procedures and MRI’s, the care you receive can really add up in terms of cost. So, you’ll want to talk to your attorney about finding medical providers who will work on a lien basis. This means the provider does not get paid until your case is resolved. Some healthcare providers will come right out and tell you they “don’t work with auto accidents.” This just means they are happy to treat you and bill your health insurance, but they are not willing to wait to be paid. Your attorney will put the insurance companies on notice and communicate with them on your behalf. In the meantime, you should follow all doctors’ orders and treatment plans and avoid missing any appointments.
Stage 3: Settlement Demand and Negotiations
Once you are pretty much done with your medical care relating to the collision, your attorney will retrieve any related medical bills and records. These are then reviewed, and your attorney will begin negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company. In Florida, you will first need to make a claim with your own insurance company through your personal injury protection (PIP) policy coverage. This is limited, but in order to preserve your right to sue or claim injuries against the at-fault party, you must show that you meet one of several key requirements. Your attorney can help you with this too. Once you have demanded settlement, the insurance company will review the materials that you’ve shared with them.
Stage 4: Lien Compromise or Litigation
At this stage, you will either reach an agreement to settle, or you and your attorney will decide that it is better to proceed with litigation and attempt to get more compensation through a trial. This is a very tough call in some cases, whereas in other cases it is a very easy decision. You should listen to your attorney’s advice carefully. But this is where experience plays a big role for choosing an attorney. If you decide to settle, then your attorney may work to get compromises (reductions in balances) for your medical expenses, in order to increase your recovery.
Stage 5: Final Payout
Perhaps the most difficult problem for many injury victims is the waiting. Once a case settles, it can sometimes take months to get the final settlement check. This is because lienholders must get paid, attorneys must get cases dismissed or settlement papers signed and returned to the insurance company. This can definitely take time.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident in central Florida, don’t trust your case to just any attorney. Call a law firm with the experience and proven success to maximize your recovery. Call Draper Law Office or find us online to schedule your free consultation today.