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Stages of a Personal Injury Claim: Gathering Records & Negotiation

In most cases, the second stage of the case is the record gathering phase.  After you complete treatment (when you have healed or you have improved as much as you’re going to improve), the next step is for our office to gather all of your medical records and bills.

In many ways this is one of the most frustrating parts of the case.  Medical providers are supposed to provide us with your records and bills within 30 days of our requests. Some will do it, but unfortunately, several providers will take much longer, sometimes months longer, to get us your records and bills. We have tried a number of different methods over the years to try and improve this process and stop the delays, and we’ve settled in on the method that we think is best. But it still takes too long.  And then, once we obtain the records, we sometimes find the names of additional medical providers that you didn’t know about.  We will then have to order those bills and records, which may delay the process again.

Once we have the records, we’ll usually complete a settlement package on your behalf to send to the insurance company.  This package will include a letter with the facts of your incident and injuries.  It will then include a number of attachments as proof, such as the accident report, any expert reports, medical records, and lost earnings records.

After sending the package, we’ll usually give the insurance company 2-3 weeks to respond before we start calling them back about trying to resolve the case.  At that point, we’ll start negotiations.  If we can settle at this time, we’ll do it.  If not, the next step is to go forward with the litigation.

Not all cases go through these stages in precise order.  If we don’t think negotiation will be fruitful, we may skip that and just file suit.  Sometimes we’ll send a demand without all the records.  The orders may change, but the general idea is usually close to the same.

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- Sara Hickman