Handling your Georgia Personal Injury Claim – A Complete Guide Part 6

  • After an Accident, how do I get fair payment from the Insurance Company?

Q: What goes into an Insurance Demand Letter?

A: A demand letter is basically a letter that is sent to an insurance company who insures the at fault party in a case. It is a letter that we send setting forth a demand for settlement, in lieu of having it settled by a jury trial. What generally goes into a demand letter is a recap of how the incident occurred, what our theory of liability is (why we believe their client was negligent), what the injuries are, the type of treatment that was required to address those injuries, and whether the injuries will have any permanent effects on the client. We will detail the amount of money spent on the medical expenses, and the amount of lost wages.

We will then set forth information from the client, their friends, employer and family regarding the effect the injury has had on the client. What the client had to go through in order to repair their injuries, both physically and mentally. We will establish whether or not those effects are going to be permanent or life-long. Whether they have suffered, and were not able to perform normal activities such as caring for their children, cleaning their own home, doing yard work, or even enjoying recreational activities such as swimming or golf.

We will also outline whether our client will be limited in doing those activities in the future, requiring a yard service, nanny, or the like. For instance, if our client must give up a hobby, a sport or the ability to play with their kids, it is considered to be a non-economic damage. These, as well as disfigurement, fall under the category of “loss of future enjoyment of life and future quality of life”. We look at similar cases to determine the value of the non-economic damages, and will then add them to the economic damages portion of the claim. That will basically be what we consider to be the value of the case. We will usually go in with a demand that is higher than what we will ultimately settle the case for. This gives us room to negotiate with the insurance company, with the goal that at the end of negotiations, we have gotten the insurance company within the range of our settlement expectations.

  • When will I get my money after an insurance settlement?

Q: How long does it take to handle a case from beginning to end?  What factors influence the amount of time it takes?

A: Generally the amount of time it takes to resolve a case is predicated upon how long it takes the client to conclude medical treatment. Once the medical treatment is concluded, we will gather all of the information necessary to determine the value of the case. This is usually a thirty to sixty day process. At that point we will attempt to get the case settled with the insurance company, which is typically another thirty to sixty day process. If we can get the insurance company to settle for a reasonable amount of money, then the case is done. This can take place through negotiations and/or mediation. Sometimes more than one attempt at mediation will occur, in order to avoid preparing for trial. If we cannot get the case settled, we will litigate the case.

Cases that go into litigation can take on average one to two years to resolve, starting on the date the suit is filed.