Every auto accident lawyer has a process for handling their clients' claims. For folks who've never dealt with the system before, it can feel slow and even downright unjust at times. It can be helpful to learn a bit about why the typical auto accident attorney working with a client might take a steady step-by-step approach.
Once you've settled a claim, there's close to zero chance you'll get another opportunity to be compensated. That means your lawyer will want to have as much information as possible before they move forward. This includes collecting information from police reports, witnesses, experts, and medical reports. You don't want to file a claim until you're reasonably sure that every detail has been covered, especially in terms of the bodily injuries you're seeking compensation for.
It's notable that most states allow between two and three years from the time of an incident to file a claim. Unless it's close to the statutory limit for filing a case, your right to file is rarely endangered by slowing down to get the specifics right.
Sending a Demand Letter
Expressing an intent in writing to seek compensation puts a claim in motion. For most law firms, this means putting together a demand letter that explains their client's version of events, how they were injured, who they hold responsible, and what level of compensation they believe would make things right.
In most states, 20 to 60 days must pass to give the insurer a chance to respond. They have the right to just ignore the letter and wait to be sued, but most will send a formal rejection, acceptance, or counteroffer.
Insurance company responses are almost always made based off a combination of data tables and the recommendation of a claims adjuster. The adjuster will first examine the legitimacy of the claim, looking at whether your version of events is sensible. They will then look at whether the compensation you're seeking corresponds with the company's data about similar injuries from similar incidents. If a settlement is proposed, it will be in line with what the insurer has seen in similar cases.
Starting a Lawsuit
If a settlement can't be reached or a claim is outright rejected, a lawsuit is the next step. A small minority of cases ever make it to trial, but pushing for one can encourage renewed negotiations. When a case does go to court, it is tried under civil laws covering personal injuries.