Case Analysis and Handling
What is the process involved in a personal injury case?
The particular process varies with the nature of each case. For example, the process for a motor vehicle accident case is significantly different from a slip and fall accident case. The procedures can also vary depending on whether the defendant has insurance, is a government agency, or is a public entity.
In general, the initial steps include setting up the claim and ensuring that our clients receive medical treatment that they need. In a motor vehicle case, we assist, at no extra charge, with resolving property damage claims. When medical treatment has been completed, typically a demand package will be prepared. The demand package will include the liability investigation, the incident or police report, witness statements, all the medical bills and records, and other relevant information. The demand package will then be sent to the insurance company of the responsible party. Once this occurs, the negotiation process and a resolution will ensue. If we are unable to negotiate an acceptable resolution with the adverse party, we will discuss the viability of filing a lawsuit against the responsible party(ies).
The steps involved in the litigation process are explained in length on our litigation process page. The steps involved in making a claim against a government agency or public entity are detailed below.
What is the likelihood that my case will settle or likely to go to trial?
The vast majority of personal injury cases settle without having to go to court. Of the small percentage of cases that go to trial, most are resolved before a trial occurs. The likelihood of a specific case settling or going to trial depends on the facts and issues related to each individual case. If liability is disputed, there is a greater likelihood of a case going to trial. Similarly, there is a greater likelihood of going to trial when the injuries or damages are more significant.
I received a letter from my health insurance plan demanding reimbursement for an accident-related medical treatment. Can they do this?
There are many factors that must be evaluated to determine whether your health insurance plan may be entitled to reimbursement. This includes whether the health insurance plan falls under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), or some other law that would entitle the health insurance plan to seek reimbursement. Even if it does fall under such law, the specific language of the health insurance plan must be analyzed to see what reimbursement rights, if any, may exist.
It is important that any reimbursement claim by a health insurance plan is evaluated by an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. This is to make certain that money from your settlement is not paid to a health insurance plan that is not entitled to reimbursement under the law. On the other hand, if a health insurance plan is entitled to reimbursement, our office uses legal and equitable arguments and makes every effort to limit or reduce the amount of the insurance’s reimbursement claim.
I received a “lien” from a hospital for an accident-related medical treatment I received, but my health insurance paid the bill in full. Because of this, it now appears that the hospital is trying to get money from my personal injury settlement when my account balance is zero. Can they do this?
It depends. Under Arizona law, a medical provider may be able to assert a lien depending upon a variety of considerations. These considerations include:
- whether the lien was timely and accurately filed
- if some form of health insurance paid
- what type of health insurance is involved
- if workers compensation paid for the medical bills
This sounds complicated; do you think I can handle my personal injury case on my own?
It is complicated, and I do not recommend that you handle your personal injury case yourself. Even if you do not hire our office to represent you, I still recommend that you retain an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney with whom you feel comfortable to represent you on your personal injury case.
Some people feel that they will end up with more money in their pocket if they handle their personal injury claim themselves so that they do not have to pay an attorney. The truth is an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney will almost always significantly increase the value of your claim for a variety of reasons, including the threat of litigation if the insurance company does not offer fair value for your case. Additionally, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to reduce or avoid reimbursement claims by health insurance plan liens filed by medical providers and other claims made by third parties against your personal injury settlement. Finally, a personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate down and reduce the amount paid to medical providers for your accident-related treatment.
In short, an experienced personal injury attorney will increase the amount of a client’s recovery and decrease the amount that goes to third parties while taking care of all the administrative tasks and headaches associated with dealing with insurance companies. They will also make sure that no missteps occur during the handling of your case, so that if the insurance company does not pay full value, your case will be well prepared to take to court.
For example, our office does not permit our clients to give recorded statements to an insurance company. Insurance companies are looking out for their own interests when they request a recorded statement. Oftentimes, they are trying to obtain information favorable to the insurance company and to the detriment of the injured victim. Once again, if you do not higher our office to represent you with your personal injury claim, I recommend that you hire some other experienced and reputable personal injury attorney
We represent clients throughout the state of Arizona and are ready to assist you through this difficult time. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, please call the Law Offices of Michael Cordova at 602-265-6700. Our Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyers offer a free, personal, and confidential consultation to answer any questions and to explain your rights.