General FAQs

General

Will My Personal Injury Case Settle and What Can a Law Firm Do to Help Settle a Case?

We are frequently asked, “Will my personal injury case settle?” or “Do I have to go to court? I don’t want to go to court.” Most personal injury cases settle before ever going to trial. In fact, many of our cases settle before we even file a lawsuit. While we cannot guarantee that your case will settle early, we can explain what we do to achieve early and favorable settlements for our clients.

We pursue two paths to resolve each case. From the day a client retains us, we start preparing to take the case to trial. At the same time, we look for opportunities to settle the case. The more willing we are to go to trial, the better we prepare for trial, the more likely we can achieve a favorable settlement.

We emphasize four key factors that lead to favorable settlements for our clients:

We thoroughly prepare our cases.

We investigate every aspect of our personal injury cases, which enables us to build the strongest possible liability arguments. And we rely on medical experts and an intensive case review to develop the greatest amount of damages. The thoroughness of the preparation allows us to maximize the value of the case for our clients and demonstrate to the insurance company the quality and depth of our work.

We have developed a unique Settlement Package that leads to settlements.

We frequently hear from insurance companies about the thoroughness and impressiveness of our Settlement Packages. Instead of a simple letter asking for money, we share our review of the facts, our theory of liability and our assessment of damages, including the research of our medical experts and our case law review. We also provide all the records and evidence the insurance company will need to assess the case. We know how the insurance companies work and know what they need to offer maximum value and to settle a case.

We are willing to take a case to trial.

Our willingness to go to trial and our thorough preparation for trial gives us leverage in negotiations because defendant insurance firms and law firms know we do not fear going to trial. In fact, we relish the opportunity to take a case to trial. We will not be distracted by weak settlement offers. We will not give in. We are tenacious: we do not go away.

We have a well-earned reputation for our trial work.

Carol L. Schlitt, who is our lead attorney and handles all our trials, has been named a Super Lawyer four years running and has a 10.0 rating on Avvo.com, the highest possible rating. Insurance companies are aware of her reputation and success as a trial attorney. Other lawyers retain Carol to take their cases to trial. The insurance companies know what they face at trial if they opt not to settle.

Our preparation, fearlessness and confidence enable us to maximize both the value and the number of settlements we achieve for our clients. Some cases settle before we file suit; others settle after we file suit or after depositions. Some cases wait until the eve of trial to settle. We never let up. We pursue those two paths: preparing for trial and looking for settlement. We fight for our clients to get them the greatest possible value for their cases.

We cannot guarantee that we will settle every case. We can promise our best effort to move every case as fast as possible and to get our clients the most money we can for them. That’s all part of our promise of Remarkable Service.

If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the negligence of another, you may want to consult an experienced and successful New York personal injury attorney. At the Schlitt Law Firm, we would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. There is never a charge for the consultation. You can call us at 1-800-660-1466 or email us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
1-800-660-1466
Contact@SchlittLaw.com

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

All content of this site: © copyright 2010-2014 by The Schlitt Law Firm

The material presented in this blog may not be reproduced or appropriated in any way without the explicit permission of the author.

Once I Settle My Case, How Soon Will I Be Paid? When Will I Receive My Settlement Check?

As soon as a personal injury case settles, clients want to know, “when will I receive my settlement check?” We answer our clients with a Case Closing Report that provides a timeline on when a client will be paid and exactly how much. In general, once a case settles a client will receive his or her check within about a month. However, we make a commitment to move our cases as fast as possible and usually are able to deliver the check to a client in less than a month, often in less than three weeks. I want to review the standard settlement payment timeline and then discuss our efforts to deliver money to our clients even faster.

Timeline for a Client to Receive a Settlement Check

Once we settle a case, the client must sign release papers agreeing to the settlement. The defendant must receive the signed release to issue a payment.

The payment process starts when we submit the release papers to the defendant’s insurance company. Let’s say we settle a case and we receive the client’s signed release papers today, May 17, 2013. Here is a review of every step in the process that enables a client to receive a settlement check:

Step

Notes

Expected Date of Completion

Submission of the Release Forms

I send the release forms via overnight mail. If the insurance company or defense firm allows, I fax copies of the papers to get the process started sooner.

May 17, 2013

Insurance Company Receives the Release Papers

The insurance company should receive and log in these papers no later than three business days after I mail them.

May 20, 2013

Processing the Payment

Once the insurance company receives the release, they will start their internal process for issuing the payment. In the settlement of a lawsuit in New York, a defendant must issue payment within 20 days of receiving the release.

June 9, 2013

Receiving the Check at My Office

By law, the insurance company sends the check to the attorney of record. The day I receive the check, I deposit it in my Lawyer’s Escrow Account, which is a special bank account reserved to hold client funds. I usually receive the check within three business days of when it is mailed.

June 12, 2013

The Check Clears

Depending on the bank that issued the check, the check should clear in three to seven days. I use five days to estimate this step in the process.

June 17, 2013

Issuing the Check

As soon as the check clears, I will issue a check. I usually send the check via Overnight Mail or I meet the client to hand deliver it.

June 17, 2013

The Client Receives the Check

The client receives the settlement check.

June 18, 2013

You can see, how under normal circumstances, a client should receive payment on a settlement in about one month.

Steps We Take to Deliver a Settlement Check to a Client Sooner

We make a commitment to move our clients’ cases as fast as possible and delivering the settlement check is part of that promise. We start by seeing if the defense will accept the settlement papers via fax as that starts the process faster than even the overnight mail service we use. Most insurance companies route all mail to scanning centers which adds a delay to when they can start processing a settlement check; sending papers via fax by-passes that process.

We then call to make sure that all of the necessary papers have been received. In checking on the papers, we ask if there is any way to expedite payment. This simple phone call often results in a faster check processing time. Checking on the status of the papers avoids any delays in case the insurance company needs additional information.

All settlement checks are made out to the client and the attorney. In the past, we had clients come into the office to co-sign the check. To speed up the process, we now have our clients sign a limited power of attorney that allows us to deposit the check as soon as it arrives. Our mail arrives around noon each day and if we receive a check, we make sure it is in the bank immediately.

Checks will take time to clear depending on the amount and the bank on which they are drawn. We keep our escrow account at Citibank which has good checking clearing times. Most of the checks we receive clear within three days; many clear overnight.

As soon as the check clears in the escrow account, we issue a check to our client. We may arrange to hand deliver the check or overnight it. If a client prefers, we will wire transfer the money so it arrive as cash in their account immediately.

Our Efforts to Deliver Fast Payment on Personal Injury Cases Pays Off

We showed how the standard settlement payment process will deliver a check to a client in a month. And we told you all the small acts we do to speed up that process. Here are some of our results from the last three settlements we reached:

  • In a Manhattan trip and fall case, we faxed the settlement papers on a Monday, received the check on a Friday and issued the check to our client via overnight mail on Tuesday. From the receipt of the release papers to the client receiving the check took 9 days.
  • In a Brooklyn trip and fall, the client received the check 20 days after signing the release form.
  • In a Manhattan pedestrian knockdown case involving a taxi, the client received the check 20 days after signing the release forms. This result is noteworthy because many self-insured taxi companies are very slow to pay and often taken forty days or more to issue payment.

The above results do not guarantee the results you would experience, but demonstrate the impact of our efforts to deliver a settlement to our clients as fast as possible.

Potential Delays in Processing a Settlement Payment

Delays can result if the defendant does not receive the appropriate release or other papers necessary to process a payment. In New York, municipal defendants, such as the City of New York and the Transit Authority, may take longer to pay than the 20 days that apply to everyone else. In cases involving a minor or an estate, the court must authorize the distribution of proceeds before any payments may be made.

As in most aspects of the law business, we find that keeping the payment process moving and reducing the time needed to deliver payment to a client requires paying attention to detail and persistence. At any time, if you have a question about when you receive payment, you should feel free to contact your attorney. After all, it’s your money.

I hope you have found this information helpful. I do need to remind you that this information offers general guidelines. If you have questions about a specific case, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York. If you or a loved one has been hurt in personal injury matter, you may want to consult an experienced New York personal injury attorney. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. The consultation is always free.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
1-800-660-1466
Contact@SchlittLaw.com

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

All content of this site: © copyright 2010-2014 by The Schlitt Law Firm

The material presented in this blog may not be reproduced or appropriated in any way without the explicit permission of the author.

The Schlitt Law Firm Settlement Package: A Proven Approach to Leverage Fast, Full Value Settlements

We have developed a series of key personal injury case reports designed to ensure the most thorough development of the case, the education of our clients about all aspects of their cases and the value of their cases and the presentation of a forceful settlement demand that leads to fast and full value settlements. There are three key documents in this process;

We want to take a closer look at our Settlement Proposal which sets the stage for successful negotiation of a personal injury case.

The Starting Place for Settlement Talks: The Settlement Proposal

In our law firm, we will not enter into settlement talks until we fully assess a case and review that Case Assessment with our client. We then present the other side with a Settlement Proposal. This Proposal has four key sections:

  • A Review of the Facts
  • A Presentation of Our Theory of Liability
  • An Assessment of Damages
  • A Settlement Demand

We also attach all the relevant supporting documents such as medical records, evidence of lost wages and bills showing uncovered medical expenses.

We always open with a review of the facts of the case that includes details such as the time, date and location of an incident as well as a narrative of events. We start with the facts to frame the case as we see it and to demonstrate to the other side the thoroughness of our investigation.

Our theory of liability states the basis in law for our claim and then outlines how we will prove it at trial. Again, we frame the issues of the case and demonstrate the vigor and thoroughness of our preparation.

Our assessment of damages incorporates our nurse’s chronological review of diagnosis and treatment and research on the nature and impact of the main physical injuries. We also summarize the claim for other damages such as lost wages or uncovered medical expenses. We then review the case law, showing the verdicts and settlements for cases with similar injuries.

We conclude the Settlement Proposal by stating our settlement demand. We have several objectives with our Settlement Proposal:

  • We want to frame the issues of the case. We want the narrative of the case to be one we set, not one set by the insurance company.
  • We want to establish the starting point of the negotiations with our demand, not the offer of the insurance company.
  • We want to provide the other side with all the information they need to assess a claim and make an offer.
  • We want to demonstrate the thoroughness of our case preparation and the rigor of our legal work. Adjusters are accustomed to receiving terse letters with a settlement demand and are impressed when they open our 15 to 20 page presentation that is well-researched and meticulously presented.
  • We want to drive the settlement process.

Dropping the Anchor for Settlement Talks by Going First

We want to make the opening settlement demand – as opposed to waiting to hear from the insurance company – because we want to set the anchor with our demand so that all future offers are made in relation to our opening offer. We are students of negotiation and many studies – including those at the Harvard Program for Negotiations – have documented the importance of setting the anchor around which negotiations revolve. (Mark studied with Professor Howard Raiffa, one of the founders of the negotiations program at Harvard). The initial demand becomes “the anchor” which pulls all future discussion towards it. As with a ship’s anchor, it is hard to pull completely away from an opening offer. Research shows that setting a high initial offer leads to higher counter offers. Every aspect of what we do is aimed to achieve greater compensation for our clients.

Our Settlement Proposals: A Source of Strength

At a recent talk on legal strategy, we heard an attorney encouraging a different approach. He advocating waiting for the insurance company to make the first offer because he thought that going first marked a sign of weakness. Far from showing weakness, our Settlement Proposal demonstrates our strength. We want to be the aggressor in fighting for our clients. We do not want to wait on the insurance company; we want to force the issue. Our Settlement Proposal displays just how good our work is and how strong a case we have. We want the insurance company to see how well we have developed our case and the thoroughness of our presentation.

The Impact of Our Settlement Proposals: Pushing for Faster Settlements with Higher Compensation

We routinely hear from insurance adjusters and defense attorneys that they have never seen anything like our Settlement Proposal. It is a complete and imposing package that it makes it easy for them to find what they need to assess a case and gives them the facts and evidence to support an offer. In fact, we recently had another personal injury firm contact us to ask if they could hire our firm to prepare settlement packages for them. (We said no, we only work for our clients.)

What matters most are the results that we deliver for our clients. Not every insurance company or defendant will engage in settlement talks and not every case will settle. We do know that our Settlement Packages lay the foundation that enables us to settle cases quickly and at good value for our clients. For example, we just settled a trip and fall case for full value within two weeks of the adjuster receiving our Settlement Package. This week, we settled a pedestrian knockdown case with two insurance companies offering their full policy (one for the car owner and one for the driver) within five days of receiving the Settlement Package. Right before that, we settled a trip and fall case for $100,000 less than four weeks after the adjuster received the Settlement Package.

It is true that past results do not guarantee future outcomes. These results do not guarantee that we would settle your case in two weeks as each case has its own fact pattern and conditions, but we will use our Settlement Package to fight for a fast settlement with the highest compensation. That we do all we can for our clients is a guarantee.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in personal injury matter, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with construction and work place cases. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. The consultation is always free.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney
1-800-660-1466
Contact@SchlittLaw.com

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

All content of this site: © copyright 2010-2013 by The Schlitt Law Firm

The material presented in this blog may not be reproduced or appropriated in any way without the explicit permission of the author.