Personal Injury Claim – Negotiation & Settlement Process
The entire process for a personal injury claim can be long, confusing, and emotionally draining. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, managing your claim on your behalf is essential. At VanDerGinst Law, we will work to maximize the compensation for your personal injury and minimize your aggravation with, and confusion about, the process.
Each type of injury case can take a different path and unexpected things can happen. But most personal injury claims will be negotiated and settled in your favor without filing your case in court and certainly before trial if possible. This will get you the quickest settlement of your claim with the lowest amount of costs, allowing you to get more in your pocket sooner, rather than later.
Below we’ve outlined the general steps that occur when pursuing a personal injury claim and provided an additional explanation about each step following the chart.
1) Accident Occurs
If the accident was serious enough that you may have been injured, you should seek a medical evaluation, even if you feel fine right afterward. Injuries can sometimes take days or even weeks to become apparent. A medical evaluation and the opinion of a medical professional will establish your condition immediately or shortly after an accident, determine the nature and extent of any injuries, and start you on a path to recovery. This medical information is usually necessary to successfully pursue a claim for your injuries.
2) Consultation with Attorney
At VanDerGinst Law, reviewing and discussing your injury case is always free. Make certain to contact us early, even if you’re unsure whether you have a case. If you hire us, you will pay nothing until we get a financial recovery for you.
We evaluate your case by going over the details of the accident and discussing the extent of your injuries. We use our extensive experience helping people with injury claims to determine the strength and compensatory value of your case. If we determine your claim is strong enough and has enough value to pursue, we will offer to be your attorney, advise you on the best course of action, and explain the process. If your case is not strong enough or does not have enough value to pursue, we will advise you of this.
The consultation with VanDerGinst Law is always free and you will pay nothing unless we get a financial recovery for you.
3) Attorney Investigation & Information Gathering
VanDerGinst Law will gather all necessary information to support your claim. It can take weeks or even months to gather all information which can include, but is not limited to, your medical records and medical bills, property damage estimates and bills, police reports, witness statements, insurance policy information, lost wage information, etc. During this time, you will have an assigned staff person and attorney who will guide you through questions you may have about your medical treatment, recovery, and issues that may come up with vehicle or other property damage.
4) Demand Package
Once you have been discharged from care or have reached a maximum medical improvement level (recovered as much as possible), VanDerGinst Law will attempt to settle your case. Attempting to settle your case prematurely can leave you unprotected should you have need for further medical attention. At the appropriate time, VanDerGinst Law will submit a demand package to the responsible party. A demand package includes a letter which outlines the liability arguments and the nature of your damages. It may also include supporting documents such as medical bills and records, investigation reports, photos and video, witness statements, supportive cases, and applicable laws, reports from experts, lost wage information, and documentation of any other losses. Most importantly the demand package includes the “demand” for compensation. This sets the tone for negotiations and provides a place to begin negotiating the value of your claim.
5) Settlement Negotiations
Most cases are settled before a lawsuit is even filed. Even those cases in which a lawsuit is filed often settle before the case progresses to trial. However, at VanDerGinst Law we prepare every case as though it is expected to go to trial which allows us to expect the best results for you. We keep you advised during every step of the process. In the end, you will make the decision whether to accept the best offer we can get from the negotiations or continuing to negotiation or ultimately file a lawsuit. We, of course, guide you through this entire process and we make sure that you are expertly advised.
- 5A) When an offer is accepted, and a case is settled a full accounting is provided to you, showing where every penny goes. If there are bills or liens that need to be addressed, it is handled by our office, so you don’t have to worry. We are often able to negotiate these bills in order to further maximize the amount which goes to you. Only when we successfully recover compensation for you will we be entitled to an attorney fee. It is a percentage of the recovery which means you are never out of pocket a dime when you hire us for your injury claim.
- 5B) If the case cannot be settled, a lawsuit is filed, and the case is further prepared for trial. Please find more information regarding the trial process here.
Statute of Limitations
Another item to be aware of is the applicable statute of limitations on your case. A statute of limitations is a set period in which you must take legal action in order to pursue monetary damages. If you wait too long to get your court action filed in time you will be barred from taking any legal action and will lose all opportunity for compensation. Different states and different situations have different statutes of limitations. In Iowa and Illinois, the general statute of limitations to file personal injury cases is two years following the accident. However, there are several exceptions to those general rules. Additionally, in some situations, there are notice requirements that must be met much sooner than two years. Contact VanDerGinst Law as soon as you are able after the accident and after you’ve received prompt medical care, to make certain you get your claim filed in time.
VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help you with a personal injury claim. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win. If you suffered an injury in Iowa or Illinois, contact VanDerGinst Law, P.C. at 800-960-8529.