Medical Treatment The severity of your injuries and the length of the medical treatment affect how long it will take to settle an injury claim. It is important that you receive all the medical care necessary and have a clear understanding of any future medical care needed before entering a settlement agreement. If you receive a settlement check from the insurance company and then incur additional medical costs, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. You need to have a clear picture of your medical expenses related to the injury.
Preparing the Demand Letter An attorney at Parnall Law will gather your medical records, medical bills and income statements to prepare a demand letter reflecting the full extent of your injuries and the impact of the injury on your life. It often takes four weeks to six weeks to obtain your medical bills. Depending on how quickly the hospital and doctors respond to our request, sometimes gathering the records takes longer. Generally, a draft demand letter with accompanying documents can be put together in eight to 10 weeks. We’ll meet with you to review the letter and seek your authorization to negotiate on your behalf. Submitting the demand letter to the insurance company or companies sets the stage for the start of settlement negotiations. It typically takes 30 days to receive a reply from the insurance company to the demand letter. We will attempt to start initial negotiations to settle the claim. The negotiations may take 30 to 90 days or longer. Sometimes, clients ask, “Why are the negotiations taking so long?” If we try to rush the negotiations process at this point, it may adversely affect the amount of the settlement. If we cannot reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, we will discuss litigation with you.
Litigation If a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the defendant named in the lawsuit has a certain amount of time to respond.
Discovery Process After you file a personal injury lawsuit, it is normal for each side to conduct discovery to find out more about the other side’s case. The defense attorneys will send written questions about your accident and injuries. We will try to provide complete answers to the questions and we will then have you review the drafts and add any additional information. After the written discovery, you will appear at a specific time and place to be questioned by the opposing counsel and provide testimony under oath. Your attorney will help you prepare for the deposition and be present during the questioning. Injury cases typically do not settle until after the deposition of the key parties in the lawsuit.
Trial While most car accident injury cases are settled, some proceed to trial. If the opposing insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement we will be ready to proceed to trial and present your case to a New Mexico jury. Sometimes, an insurance company will not focus on settling a case until the trial. The two sides may reach a compromise and settle a case on the eve of the trial or during the trial. A case can be settled at any point during a trial until the jury returns a verdict.