When you first sit down with an auto accident attorney, you may feel overwhelmed by the whole lawsuit process. The Christensen Law attorneys never want you to feel lost. Here’s a step-by-step guide of what to expect in the First Party Lawsuit Process.
1. Investigating Auto Accident Claims
Your auto accident attorney will need to start by investigating your auto accident claims. They will gather paperwork including police reports, accident reports, medical records, and bills. They will also identify which insurance companies need to be notified and how soon.
2. Filing an Insurance Claim
Next, your car accident lawyers will prepare a formal notice of claim for each insurance company. That could include First Party claims against your insurer, uninsured or underinsured insurance claims, and other insurance companies connected with the accident.
3. Independent Medical Examination
In evaluating your claim, your insurance company will review your medical records and ask you to attend an “independent” medical examination by its paid doctors. Based on this lop-sided examination, the insurance company will often deny your claim.
4. Filing the First Party Lawsuit
Once you receive the insurance claim denial, your auto accident attorney will prepare a complaint and start a lawsuit to collect the benefits you deserve. The complaint stops the clock and keeps you from losing out on benefits.
Once the case is filed, each side is entitled to get information from the other, including the insurance company’s claim file, your medical records, and reports from each expert that will be used in the case. You will be asked to attend a deposition and complete written Interrogatories (questions). Your attorneys will also receive Answers to Interrogatories and have a chance to depose the other drivers and insurance adjusters involved in your case.
6. Case Evaluation, Mediation, and Arbitration
As the case progresses, your auto accident attorneys try to reach a settlement you can agree with. Every case will be referred to Case Evaluation – a review by a panel of attorneys. The panel will set a number it feels is the right settlement. If you or the insurance company don’t agree, and you’re wrong, you will have to pay the other party’s attorney fees. In some cases, your attorneys may make use of a facilitated mediator to bring everyone to the table. Or they may take the case to Arbitration, which can get you to a binding decision sooner than going to trial.
7. Summary Judgment
Often, your attorneys or the insurance company will file a Motion for Summary Judgment to resolve the case without needing to present evidence. These motions ask the judge to decide the case based on the law when everyone more-or-less agrees on the facts.
If there’s no good settlement, then your lawyers will put together all the evidence, the experts, the witnesses, and the arguments to convince the judge and jury you are entitled to benefits, and how many. You will need to testify and be present the until the judgment is entered.
A First Party lawsuit isn’t an easy process, but with the experienced auto accidents attorneys at Christensen Law in your corner, you can make it through to a payment that meets your needs.