Q: I had internal injuries after my auto accident in Harrisburg. I tried handling everything myself with the people from the insurance companies, but they were rude and I just can’t do it alone. Once I hire an attorney, what happens next?
We’re sorry to hear about your troubles. The fact is, though, that this is a fairly common occurrence. Despite Pennsylvania’s no-fault car insurance law, we regularly hear from clients who have been given the run-around. They are sent back and forth between their own insurance carrier and the other guy’s insurer. They are told that their medical benefits won’t be enough to cover their injuries, or they are promised checks that never arrive.
Your first instinct is correct: it’s important to speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as you start getting resistance from the insurance company. Your attorney will schedule a FREE meeting for you to explain what has happened to you. This will allow him the chance to determine what legal action is necessary to get you the compensation you deserve. In some cases, it may be enough to ask a court to force the insurance company to pay its full contractual obligations under your insurance policy; in other cases, you may need to file a lawsuit against the business or person whose negligence caused your injuries.
Step by step through the Pennsylvania civil justice system
Typically, after you hire a Harrisburg auto accident lawyer, the following actions will happen:
- The attorney will conduct an initial investigation of the case. Your lawyer will continually update and refine his understanding of your case as time goes on.
- Your attorney will send a letter to the insurance company. Depending on the situation, maybe the letter will go to the negligent driver who hurt you. This demand letter will request immediate compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
- The demand letter is answered. Sometimes—now that the insurance company knows you have legal representation—that will be enough to force open its pocketbook. More often, lawyers for the other side will call your lawyer and begin negotiations over a possible settlement. These negotiations will continue from this point onward; both sides may come to an agreement at any time.
- Your lawyer will file a lawsuit if the other side fails to meet your demand.
- Discovery begins. What lawyers call the discovery process is a fact-finding exercise. Both sides are given access to documents that may prove useful in developing a case, such as police reports and medical records. Interviewing potential witnesses is also a crucial part of discovery.
- The case goes to trial. It may take several months before your case actually reaches the courtroom, and settlement negotiations will continue separately all the time. The judge and jury will hear testimony and examine physical evidence during the trial. When both sides have completed their presentations, the jury will deliberate and decide what compensation—called damages—your injuries merit.
Get the legal representation your case needs after a Pennsylvania traffic accident
Many personal injury attorneys never step foot in a courtroom. They prefer to negotiate a quick settlement, collect a fee, and move on to the next case.
That’s not how we work at Schmidt Kramer. We’re committed to getting you the best available conclusion to your case, and we’re not afraid of the judge and jury, or intimidated by the lawyers on the other side. Give us a call at (717) 888-8888 toll-free when you’re ready to schedule your free, confidential case review. Just for calling, we’ll send you a FREE copy of our informative report, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured in an Automobile Accident?