You and your family are going through a difficult time. Through past personal and professional experience, we understand what you are going through. The following includes some preliminary information that you should consider from the outset.
1. Take Care of Your and Your Loved One’s Health:
This goes without saying, but the most important thing for you to do is to immediately seek appropriate medical attention. If you do not have health insurance or if obtaining necessary care is cost prohibitive for you, please contact us as there are people and organizations that are willing to help provide you with medical attention on a lien basis.
2. Cooperate with the Authorities:
If you are involved in an accident and are injured, be sure to immediately contact 911 or the appropriate authorities. Depending upon the type of incident you and/or your loved ones are involved in, there will be several different governmental agencies that you will need to contact (e.g., OSHA, the California Department of Social Services, the California Department of Public Health, etc.). Contact us immediately if you have questions relating to your particular case so we can better direct you.
It is important for the authorities and/or paramedics to provide you with care, obtain information from witnesses, and determine who caused the harm. If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and the property damage.
3. Be Wary of Calls from Insurance Adjustors:
Most often and within hours of an accident, you will receive a phone call from an insurance adjustor. Often, both your insurance company’s adjustor as well as that of the defendant(s) will call you. Be wary of these calls. More often than not, the insurance companies are trying to contact you before you have the opportunity to retain counsel. They often promise the moon and then try and coax you into repeating their statements which may have the effect of changing the legal significance of the facts you relayed to the authorities and/or attempting to minimize the accident and your injuries. Despite what the adjustors tell you, you are not obligated to speak with them and/or provide a recorded statement. Because of these and other issues, it is best to retain a lawyer prior to engaging in any substantive dialogue with insurance companies regarding your injuries.
4. Once You Retain Our Services:
Once retained, The Kindley Firm, APC handles most personal injury cases in the following manner:
A. The Information Gathering Phase
The Kindley Firm, APC will investigate all aspects of your accident along with the nature and extent of your injuries. Usually, witness statements are taken while reports, records, and bills are obtained. This early phase is critical to the success of your case. The facts are the driving force of your case. With the passing of time, witnesses may move or forget the details of the event.
B. The Negotiation Phase
Negotiations begin as soon as the client has concluded medical treatment or reached maximum medical improvement. The Kindley Firm, APC will present your claim to the insurance company and/or wrongdoing party in the form of a comprehensive demand package, which will: (i) explain the details of your case; (ii) explain why the other party is at fault; and (iii) provide a detailed medical explanation of your injuries and how they have effected your physical and emotional well being; provide evidence of your special damages including your medical bills, out-of-pocket costs and wage loss information. The formal demand package will then be reviewed by the wrongdoing party and/or his/her insurance company's claims adjustor; they will typically provide a response in the form of an acceptance of the demand, a counteroffer, or a rejection of the offer. By law and once a settlement offer is made, we will communicate the offer to you. After discussing the offer with you, it will be up to you to instruct us to either accept or reject it on your behalf. Depending on the circumstances, the Law Offices of George R. Kindley will recommend either an acceptance or rejection of the offer. However, the client always has the final say in choosing to accept or reject any settlement offer that might be made by the insurance company.
C. The Litigation Phase
If settlement negotiations fail, litigation and/or arbitration begins. Just because litigation or arbitration is initiated does not mean that your case will not resolve short of trial. If the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer, your case could settle at any time during the proceedings. More often than not the parties will attend formal mediation where the case could resolve. While very few personal injury claims actually go to trial or arbitration (more than 90% are settled), The Kindley Firm, APC will prepare your case to go to trial or arbitration from the very beginning.
D. Other Information & Frequently Asked Questions
How much time do I have to decide whether to file a lawsuit?
This depends on the Statute of Limitations which applies to your particular injury. The Statute of Limitations restricts the amount of time in which a lawsuit can be filed for a personal injury or wrongful death. These statutes vary by state and by cause of action.
Because the general rules and the exceptions can be difficult to understand, don’t try to guess whether you still have time to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Contact The Kindley Firm, APC immediately to learn more about whether you still have a viable case.
Is there a chance my case will settle without going to trial?
As stated above, yes. In fact over 90% of all cases ever filed in the State of California are settled without going to trial. However, in order to best serve our clients, The Kindley Firm, APC treats each and every case like it will be going to trial, making sure to obtain all the necessary information and evidence which would be used in court. More often than not, we can use this information to convince the party at fault, or its insurance company, that it would be in his/her best interest to pay an appropriate settlement for your injuries without going to trial.
Contact us for a free case consultation at (619) 550-1313