When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and have injuries you want an attorney who does things right. Once you get an attorney this is what happens. Doing things right takes time—this is why.
Wait Until You are Recovered
You should wait until you are fully recovered from your injuries before making any claim. You should wait because you may not know the full extent of your injuries until you are released from treatment. You may never fully recover from a crash but you will reach what attorneys call “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). In other words, you have recovered as best you can from the injuries visited upon you from the crash. Sometimes this time of treatment can be weeks, months or years.
Why Insurance Companies Want You to Settle Quickly
Assuming you are seriously injured the insurance company probably knows you are not working and may need money. Knowing this, the insurance companies often make low-ball offers soon after the crash—they are trying to get out of the claim for the least amount of money possible.
The longer and more involved your medical or psychological treatment takes, the more it costs. The more your treatment costs the more your claim is valued. We are not saying or advising that you get unnecessary treatment but get the treatment you need.
You Only Get One Bite at the Apple
If you settle your claim early, before you know the full extent of your injuries, there is no going back to the insurance company and saying, “Hey – I have more injuries – can I make another claim?” When you settle a claim early the insurance company will have you sign a “release” that effectively terminates any all claims—known or unknown.
While You Recover Your Lawyer is Working
Your lawyer should be working hard on your case while you recover. Attorneys need your medical records and your medical records will not be available until you are completed treatment. Some medical records are available soon after the crash, ambulance records for example and these are gathered as soon as possible.
Your attorney may need to speak with experts to ensure the other driver is held responsible for the crash. We are involved in getting our ducks in a row so when the case is launched we are far ahead of the insurance companies in proving your case—not only the responsibility of the other driver but proving your damages as well.
We are also gathering evidence that may disappear—surveillance video from nearby stores are found and secured—witnesses interviewed and sworn statements obtained. We have private investigators that will go out and turn over every stone to find this oftentimes disappearing evidence.
We also gather information from governmental agencies—the crash report (DI-9) from the police, body camera video, crash investigations, and 911 calls.
Launch the Claim
Typically, your attorney will, once you are at MMI, prepare what we call a “demand.” We prepare very detailed demands that include why the other driver is responsible, your injuries, what these injuries mean to your life and argue or explain why the case should be fairly valued.
Sometimes the insurance company for the offending driver will settle the case fairly by simply negotiating. Alternatively, you and your attorney and the insurance company will mediate the claim. We do not recommend arbitration.
File Your Case in Court
We believe, as proved by experience in years of dealing with insurance companies, that we must hold their and their insured's feet to the fire. What we mean is that you must show that you are ready, willing and able to go to trial is necessary. Once the case is filed with a Complaint in court you kick off the litigation process.
Litigation Takes Time
After the Complaint is filed, fact discovery follows, then expert discovery, and finally actual trial in front of a jury. While all of this is going on claims usually settle. Something like 96% of all cases filed in court will settle—meaning no actual trial. Again, you must demonstrate that you are ready, willing and able to go to trial if necessary.
So How Long to Settle
The answer is of course, it depends. Depends on the extent of your injuries, time for you to reach MMI, the willingness of the insurance company to settle and your willingness to get full compensation for your injuries.
George Tait Law is a law firm and its lawyers represent injured people and their families across Utah including the counties and cities of Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Carbon, Daggett, Davis, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Summit, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, Wayne, Weber, American Fork, Beaver, Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Delta, Draper, Duchesne, Fillmore, Heber, Kamas, Kanab, Kaysville, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Moab, Murray, Nephi, Ogden, Orem, Park City, Price, Provo, Richfield, Riverton, Roy, Salt Lake City, Sandy, South Jordan, St. George, Tooele, Vernal, West Jordan, and West Valley City. George Tait Law and its attorneys are licensed to practice law only in the State of Utah and maintain offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. No attorney client relationship is established by simply visiting this website.
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