How Will My Case Be Handled?
At your initial office consultation with Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC, we will gather from you all the information we need. Such information includes, but is not limited to, factual circumstances of your incident, the details of your injury, time missed from work and conversations you have had with your medical providers.
At this time, we will also ask you to provide any relevant insurance policies that you may have, as well as photographs of the scene, your injuries or the vehicles involved in the incident. We will also request that you keep a detailed journal of your problems and limitations.
After our initial office interview, we will begin investigating your claim. This will include gathering all of your medical records and bills, a copy of any investigative reports, scene and vehicle photos, interviews with witnesses, and any other relevant information about your claim. If you are claiming lost wages, we will need your assistance in gathering your earnings, wages and/or business profits information as well as tax returns and W-2s. Usually, we will need your W-2s from the five years prior to your incident.
After our initial meeting, we will begin working on your claim. We will send notice to the at-fault party, as well as begin the collection of your medical records and bills, a copy of any police or incident report, lost wage information, among other things. Please keep in mind that collecting this information takes time and that medical providers typically take at least 30 days to send us copies of your records. In addition, as you continue to seek treatment for your injuries, additional records will be requested, which will take even more time. Please be patient. It is not to your benefit to quickly settle your claim. You must receive all appropriate medical attention before we will have any idea as to the value of your claim. Furthermore, oftentimes a doctor will want to seek conservative treatment before making any recommendations on surgical intervention. Conservative treatment, which includes such things as injections and physical therapy, often will take even more time.
At Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC, we will push your case as expeditiously and efficiently as possible without prejudicing your rights.
Negotiations and settlement
Once we have secured an accurate and complete understanding of your medical injuries and once our investigation is complete, we will be in a position to make a demand on the insurance company. It is critical that a demand is not made too soon. In other words, your doctors will need to let us know when your medical treatment will be completed or if more treatment is necessary, how long it will take and what it will cost. We will make every effort to resolve your case with the insurance company so as to avoid filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. When making a demand, we will usually give the insurance company anywhere from 30 to 90 days to evaluate. This provides more than enough time to evaluate your claim. If no offers are made after that time period, or if an unreasonable offer is made which you wish not to accept, we will recommend that we file suit against the at-fault party. In some situations, we may not even negotiate with the insurance company and will recommend that we file suit immediately. This depends on the circumstances of your case.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the at-fault party or its representative must be served with a petition and summons. Upon service, that person or representative has 30 days to turn the matter over to his or her insurance company and/or hire an attorney and file a formal Answer in Court. Once an Answer is filed and an attorney has entered his or her appearance to defend the lawsuit, the formal process of discovery commences. Depending on the complexity of your case, this process usually takes 12 to 20 months. If your case involves more complicated facts or circumstances, this can often take more time.
Upon completion of the discovery phase, if no resolution has been reached, your case will be tried before a jury. While most cases settle prior to trial, we treat every case as if it is going to trial from the very beginning. While the term “Jury Trial” may seem frightening to some clients, we promise you that we will prepare you and prepare ourselves as thoroughly as possible for trial.
Length of time to trial
Due to the large number of cases being filed, it can often take one to three years before your case is set for jury trial. However, keep in mind that we will do everything in our power to push your case and get it resolved as quickly as possible given the nature of your injuries and the facts of your case.
Will my case go to trial?
While figures can vary, on average about 90% of cases are settled before trial. Whether your case goes to trial depends upon a variety of factors like the value of the claim, the insurance company involved, the certainty of the evidence, and the underlying facts of your case. While Mr. Cox prepares every case for trial, as your case progresses, he will be able to give you a better sense of whether your case will go to trial.