The best way to answer that is probably to show you the letter we give to our customers after they sign up. These time estimates are pretty solid for an average car accident case:
I want to personally thank you for choosing Christopher Simon Attorney at Law to represent you in this case. We are a family business and look forward to taking care of you as our own.
I know that the idea of hiring a lawyer and pursuing a claim is daunting. The process can be frustratingly slow and at times it will feel like nothing is happening. I assure you it is.
In addition to keeping our number of cases low to better serve you, we also employ state of the art customer service tracking software. You are always welcome to check in with us if you are curious about your case status, but do not be concerned if several weeks go by without hearing anything. This is very normal.
The attached page gives you a general timeline of the life cycle of your case and what to expect. Please look it over and refer to it as your case proceeds.
Life Cycle of a Car Accident Case in Georgia
Step 1: Intake and Initial Document Requests 45 days
During this initial phase we will:
Order the police report if necessary.
Send notice to your own insurance company about the claim as required by contract.
Request a certified statement of the insurance available on the at fault party.
Order 911 tapes where appropriate
Interview witnesses where appropriate
Pull the defendant’s social media accounts. (please check your own and don’t post things you would not want a jury to read)
Order medical records from completed care like the emergency room.
Step 2: Treatment: Duration is Unique to Each Patient
Unless you are totally done with your medical care, step 2 will be the lengthiest and least eventful phase. While you get your medical care, the Firm is on standby and information requested in phase 1 will be coming in. We will advise you once we learn the other parties insurance limits and contact you if we have important information.
Your job is to keep us posted on your medical care and any new doctors or important developments. Email is a great way to track this information because then you do not have to play phone tag.
Step 3: Ordering Medical Records: 45-60 days from end of Treatment
Once your medical care is complete, contact us so that we can order your medical notes and bills. You should be sending the bills to us as you go along and we will fill in the gaps. If you have health insurance, be sure to save any letters they send and pass them along to us.
Some medical providers can take 45-60 days to process records requests and they often require us to cut checks to prepay for the records. Be patient as this is often a frustrating period. We will follow up on the records orders and push it along as much as possible. Remember that your doctors don’t tell us what is going on so be sure to keep us updated on all new providers.
Step 4: Drafting a Demand to the Insurance Company: 2 Weeks
Insurance companies will not make an offer until they receive a demand that contains all of the necessary medical and legal information. They will want copies of all medical bills and records. They will also want a full explanation of the legal theories behind why their driver is responsible.
Drafting a demand takes about 2 weeks once all of the medical records are received. Once the demand is finished, we will contact you to discuss the case value and strategy. We will give you our estimate of a range of values for settlement and for trial. We will agree on numbers for our demand and send it to the insurance company. You will receive a copy of the demand.
Step 5: Waiting for an Offer from the Insurance Company: 35 Days
Under Georgia law, in car accident cases, the insurance company has a 30 days to respond to a demand. Once they contact us, we will discuss any missing information and debate the merits of your case. We will then contact you and lay out a strategy for the next series of moves.
Step 6: Settling your Insurance Case: 2 Weeks from a Deal
Once a settlement number is agreed upon by you and the insurance company, it generally takes 2 weeks to review the release language documents, make changes and set the appointment to come in to sign the checks and paperwork. We will then deposit the settlement check in our IOLTA escrow account and wait 5 business days for it to clear. On the fifth day, your settlement check will be ready, tax free!
If the case is not going to settle and will go into litigation, we will discuss that timeline with you because each case is different.
I want to thank you again for being our client and we will make the process as painless and easy to understand as possible.