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Personal Injury Settlements

The Settlement Process

The settlement phase usually encompasses the first year and one half following the date of a motor vehicle accident. During this period of time, the attorney is gathering information generated by the police report, investigator’s reports, pictures, and treatment records. Once the information is received, the attorney supplies that information to the bodily injury insurer.

The reason for this free exchange of information is that the attorney wants to do everything possible to maximize the client’s case for settlement. When a liability claims adjuster first receives a file, the claims adjuster evaluates the case and sets the reserve for the case. The reserve is the top dollar figure, which the claims adjuster believes the case would settle for, or what the insured would receive at trial. If additional information favorable to the case is supplied to the adjuster on a regular basis, the adjuster will tend to increase the amount of the reserve, thereby increasing the potential of receiving more in settlement.

Approximately nine to twelve months following the date of injury the attorney may request a permanency report from the doctor. After the attorney receives that permanency report, the attorney will prepare a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter will usually be a two to five page letter detailing the pertinent information on the accident, who caused the accident, the extent of the injuries and the amount of paid and unpaid medical bills (special damages).

Included along with that demand letter will be the doctor’s permanency report, and all other pertinent records. The contents of the report will usually state what the attorney feels is the value of the case. This constitutes the attorney’s demand for payment in order to settle the case. The attorney will start with a high demand since the attorney wants to maximize the settlement for the client.

Upon receipt of this demand letter, the insurer will often do either a file review or meet with a committee of other adjusters to decide what they will offer on the case. The bodily injury insurer’s first offer will often be much lower than they will eventually agree to settle for. The bodily injury insurer’s offer on the case will usually be received within two months following the demand letter. Demands and offers will continue to be made until a deadlock or settlement occurs.

Contact Crabtree Health Law P.A. today for a free consultation by calling (651) 351-1400, (800) between 8am-5pm CST, M-F.