Thoroughness is the key when preparing a settlement brochure or lawsuit package to try and settle an injury case.
Here are 32 tips drawn from over 20 years of experience that included a checklist or template to make sure your brochure is as comprehensive as possible.
(Note: In this checklist, the “settlement brochure” is sometimes called the “lawsuit”).
1. Request the PIP / MedPay payment ledger from your insurance company (the car company you were in at the time of the accident).
2. Receive the PIP / MedPay payment ledger.
3. Check the ledger for other doctors, clinics, prescriptions, and so on. that you had overlooked.
4. Make a complete list of all your doctors, hospitals, etc.
5. Request an impairment rating or a final narrative report letter from one of your treating physicians.
6. Get all medical bills.
7. Obtain all medical records and reports.
8. Mail or fax your employer a LOST WAGE REQUEST LETTER. This asks your employer’s human resources department:
1) your hourly wage at the time of the accident, and
2) how many hours were lost due to the accident.
9. Once you have received the lost wages information from the employer, calculate the lost wages.
10. Check the dates of service on ALL medical bills, prescriptions, reports, records, etc. Make sure your bills are current and include all services to date.
11. Organize medical bills in chronological order, keeping all bills for a doctor / clinic together, then list each doctor / clinic and the total expenses for that clinic in the MEDICAL SPECIALS SUMMARY in the same order. Note: In injury cases, medical bills are known as “medical specials.”
12. Check the recipes. Add to SUMMARY OF MEDICAL SPECIALS.
13. Have any of the physicians predicted a specific need for future treatment? If so, add the amounts to the end of the MEDICAL SPECIALS SUMMARY. (Place a copy of future medical documentation in the future medical claim section.)
14. Read medical records and reports to identify problem areas. (In reading, if another doctor / clinic is mentioned, check to see if there are more medical bills.
15. Organize medical records and reports in reverse chronological order.
16. If it is an uninsured or underinsured driver case, collect information that demonstrates the existence of an uninsured or underinsured driver.
17. Obtain an investigation into the liability or the jury’s verdict. Note: If there is a liability issue, it is helpful to attach legal research to support your position. You can get it at a law library.
18. Draft REQUEST LETTER. This is the cover letter for your brochure that summarizes all the information.
19. Write LETTER OF DEMAND, SUMMARY OF MEDICAL SPECIALS, SUMMARY OF MEDICAL FUTURES and SUMMARY OF LOST WAGES.
20. Review the DEMAND LETTER, MEDICAL SPECIALS SUMMARY, MEDICAL FUTURES SUMMARY, and LOST WAGES SUMMARY. Verify the date of the accident on the accident report with the date on the letter.
21. Check the verdict amounts on verdicts comparable to what is written in the demand letter.
22. Check the spelling of medical terms and the names of doctors, clients, and adjusters.
23. Verify that all dollar amounts and numbers are correct numbers.
24. Check all dollar totals with an adding machine. This may seem trivial, but your accuracy will reflect on your credibility.
25. Check names and amounts on MEDICAL SPECIALS SUMMARY and compare for accuracy with actual bill amounts.
26. Place divider sheets in appropriate places to divide the claim package into sections.
27. Finalize DEMAND LETTER, SUMMARY OF MEDICAL SPECIALS, SUMMARY OF MEDICAL FUTURES and SUMMARY OF LOST WAGES.
28. Make sure the letter is signed before making the copy. Copy the entire claim package; make an EXACT copy of what you send to the insurance company.
29. Make sure the divider tabs are “in” for each section and are labeled on both the suit and your copy.
30. After copying the claim package, review it page by page to make sure all pages have been copied and that the pages are facing up. Make sure highlighted items are highlighted in the copy.
31. Mail or hand deliver the claim package / settlement brochure to the insurance company.
32. Five-day follow-up schedule with adjuster. You want to make sure the package arrived. You also want to ask the claims adjuster how long it will take to review it and get back to you with an answer.
The care and thoroughness of your settlement brochure will be reflected in the size of the offer. Build credibility and trust by being thorough and accurate. Good luck!
This article does not constitute legal advice, but merely a summary of the experience of an attorney in a jurisdiction. Seek legal advice from a competent attorney in your state or conduct your own legal research on any relevant legal matter.