Navigating the personal injury claims process can be overwhelming. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about how personal injury cases typically unfold:
How long before you must decide whether to hire a lawyer?
In the state of Washington, the statute of limitations on a negligence claim is generally 3 years, with some minor exceptions. If you feel you need legal representation, we recommend securing an attorney as early as possible, since it can often be difficult to find representation when nearing the expiration of the statute of limitations.
What happens if you retain an attorney?
When retaining an attorney, you leave most of the work to your attorney and their team. We will first notify all involved parties (insurance carriers, medical providers, etc.) that we are representing you. We will make sure all your bills will be taken care of. Once your treatment is complete, we will begin working to get you a fair, reasonable bodily injury settlement. We take care of your case so you can concentrate on getting better!
Do you have to sue?
At The Advocates, we do our best to settle your accident claim fairly and equitably before resorting to filing a lawsuit. However, we will always do what’s best for you, to be sure you’re appropriately compensated for your injuries. This may include filing a suit or litigating your case if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair offer.
Will you have to go to trial?
Some cases do go as far as a trial, but not without exhaustive efforts by our firm to settle your case first. Your legal team will be in full communication with you through every step of your case. We will discuss your options with you as the case proceeds. In many instances, pushing for a trial when it’s in your best interest will lead to a higher settlement offer before the trial even starts.
Although it’s a last resort, going to trial is one of the best tools available when the insurance company refuses to do what’s right.
How long is the process going to take?
While you are still being treated, we usually don’t move your case toward the settlement process. This is to ensure your request for compensation includes all relevant medical treatments and that no additional or unexpected bills will arise after closing out your injury claim. Once your treatment is complete, we can then start moving your case forward.
Once care is complete, we begin gathering information such as medical bills and medical records, which can take around 8-12 weeks. Once the information is forwarded to the insurance company for settlement purposes, your case may be completed in 60-90 days. However, it can take much longer if litigation is needed.
Your attorney will be in direct contact with you throughout the settlement process to discuss offers and recommendations.
What if you need money now?
We know sustaining injuries in an accident can come with considerable financial ramifications. If you need money urgently before your claim is settled, there are legal loans that can be taken against your future settlement. However, these loans typically come with significant penalties and high interest rates, so we tend to discourage our clients from taking them. Because everyone’s circumstances are unique, we are happy to discuss your options with you should the need arise.
Questions about an injury? Call for a free consultation!