I agree with my fellow attorneys. Years ago when I was doing Insurance Defense (working to help the insurance company avoid paying people in your position) I had a case where the unrepresented car crash victim missed the Statute of Limitations (SOL). He was absolutely out of luck. Miss filing before the SOL runs and there is nothing anybody can do for you. You will be absolutely barred to bring a claim after the SOL. The closer you get to the SOL and the harder it will be to find an attorney.
The reason it will be harder to find an attorney is because we have an ethical obligation to research a case and know as many of the facts as possible before filing a claim. The closer a case is the SOL, the less time we have to adequately research a case and prepare a thorough complaint asking for damages.
Damages is the legal term for the money you are owed following an accident. The amount depends on the severity of your injuries, the amount of treatment and medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc. If you had any fault in the accident, that would also be considered in calculating damages.
There are basically two ways of collecting damages from the at-fault party, or their insurance company: first, negotiate a settlement directly with the insurance company; and, second, sue the person who injured you. 99% of the time a personal injury case at least starts with the first option. After interviewing you and collecting your medical records, we would prepare a Settlement Demand, which we would forward to the other party’s insurance company.
Settlement Demand. This is the document that details who you are as a person. We’d describe what you did for fun and work before the accident, whether you had a family, etc. This paints a picture of you and your life for the insurance adjuster. The next part of the Demand chronicles the accident and how it affected you. In this portion of the Demand we would describe your diagnosis and treatment. Finally, we tie everything together and ask for a specific amount of money. That begins the negotiations process. We generally don’t file a complaint to sue the other party until negotiations have failed.
We also generally like to file our complaint at least six months before the SOL runs. This allows us time to discover all the important facts of the case, serve the defendant, locate all the witnesses and medical providers, and put everything together to protect your interests.
Don't wait to hire an attorney. Start the interview process now. Most attorneys do not require any sort of payment before working for you. For instance, in our office, the initial consultation is free. All we need to get started is a detailed interview with you, a signed fee agreement, and a medical authorization so that we can start collecting your medical records to prepare the demand, or in your case, the Complaint.
We, and just about every other reputable personal injury firm, don't charge until we settle the case and get you paid. This is commonly referred to as a Contingent Fee Agreement. The best part of a Contingent Fee Agreement, is that you can get started immediately!
Good luck with your case, and feel free to call me if you have any more questions.
You should consult with a local personal injury attorney about your case immediately. Most attorneys will offer a free consultation to discuss your case. There is no advantage to waiting. There are too many unknown facts about your situation to answer your question regarding the insurance company’s intent with your claim. Simply put, you need to discuss your case with an attorney because if you don't file your claim within the statute of limitations your claim will forever by timed barred and you could foreclose any opportunity at recovery.
Best of luck.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
They may be stalling and they may be sincere. However, I strongly recommend you consult with an attorney immediately. If they keep stalling, or if you don't like what they offer (you probably won't, considering they are doing a "medical review"), you will still need to file suit, and some attorneys will not take your case if it is too close to the statute of limitations date. You will be best served consulting with attorney now in order to get advice on the best route for you. Many injury lawyers will meet with you for free at the first meeting, but when you make the appointment, ask if you will be charged. If the first lawyer does not work out, keep looking.
DISCLAIMER: This information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
Yesterday. Especially in light of the fact that the insurance company is already giving you the runaround.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. DISCLAIMER: This information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Scott W. Edwards Attorney at Law Schauermann Thayer Jacobs & Staples 1700 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661 PHONE: (360) 695-4244 FAX: (360) 696-0583 E-MAIL: ScottE@stjs.com
I would not wait any longer, consult a good Washington personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you wait until the last minute to find an attorney, your choices will be limited and you may find yourself in an emergency situation. You can negotiate different fees based on whether the case settles before proceeding further in litigation.
Four months should leave an attorney ample time to review and handle your case. However, with that said, you should still retain an attorney immediately. Insurance companies are notorious for delaying cases, in the hopes that the client grows frustrated and simply accepts the first offer that comes their way (or even give up). Even if they do submit an offer in a timely manner, it will most likely be a lowball offer, as they will assume they can get away with more due to your lack of representation. Do yourself a favor and hire a good PI attorney in your area.
Farid Yaghoubtil is an attorney at Downtown L.A. Law Group - 1850 E. 15th St., Los Angeles, CA 90021. (855)385-2529.
It is not in your interests to delay. I can practically guarantee that the medical review by the insurance physician will find something to reduce whatever it is that you are owed. A good personal injury attorney can add value. However if the three year statute of limitations is running in just a few months, the longer you delay, the less likely you will find a good attorney that will be willing to take your case. Insurance companies know this so they delay and the value of your case drops with each day you delay getting representation. Consult with personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time and that insurance adjuster - no matter how nice they seem - are not your friends.
I my experience, you do not do yourself any good by waiting to hire an attorney. You should meet with an attorney, maybe 2-3 attorneys, right now. Most Personal Injury attorneys offer a no-charge consultation. You have nothing to lose by speaking to an attorney now. In fact the more you wait, the more entrenched the insurance company my become and you'll have to scamper at the last minute to protect your rights.
There are other things you can do. For example, you can file a lawsuit (properly) today. Make sure service is complete, etc. That would preserve the Statute of Limitation issue. BUT, there may be much more to the process, your claim, the law, etc. That's why you consult with an attorney who practices in this area.
Don't wait another day. Call an attorney and set up a consultation.
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