A question that I am often asked by clients and prospective clients is about the settlement process. While questions about the projected value of a Maryland injury claim are difficult to answer at the very beginning, it is easier to answer questions regarding the end process without discussing the numbers.
Once you have completed any and all medical treatment, our office will complete the ongoing process of collecting medical bills, records, and documentation pertaining to time lost from employment to put together what is commonly known as a “demand letter” or “demand package” to send to the insurance company. Once sent, most insurance companies will take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to evaluate the damages in the claim, liability of the claim, and ultimately contact our office with an initial offer for settlement. We do not accept or encourage our clients to accept the initial offer, except in instances where that initial offer constitutes the limits of all available liability insurance.
Next, the negotiating attorney in our office will contact our client, before beginning negotiation with the insurance company. We will discuss this initial offer with our client, discuss the pros/cons of that offer, and also provide our client with real numbers of “if you accepted this, your proceeds would be…” At this point, our clients have a good idea of what the initial offer would mean to them, as well as a fair estimate of what the “high end” might look like through the negotiation process. Your attorney will also tell you their opinion on the offer, and possible top end offer. We will not push you to accept an offer that we feel is too low, or that we have a reasonable likelihood of getting you more by filing a lawsuit.
Then, with your approval and authority to settle for a certain minimum amount, we will reinitiate the settlement process, with the goal to exceed your expectations, of course.
Remember: We get paid a percentage of this settlement amount. It is not only in your best interest for us to get the highest amount possible, but it also helps our office. We’re on the same team here!
Then, we typically will verify our client’s approval of the settlement amount prior to accepting it.
Shortly following this, the insurance company will send a check to our office, which will be placed in our client trust account, and ultimately be disbursed to the client, the firm, and any outstanding medical balances or insurance liens. Our clients receive a full detailed breakdown on every penny of their injury settlement proceeds.
Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law