In many Oregon and Washington injury cases, we will first approach the responsible party, usually through their insurance company, with a settlement demand. There is a lot to consider when formulating a settlement demand, and one of those considerations includes the timing of the demand itself.
What is included in the settlement demand changes from case to case. However, there is going to be discussion about who is responsible for causing our client’s injury. We may share some evidence of liability, or at least let the insurance company know that we have had an expert review important issues in the case.
Another goal in putting together a settlement demand is to document our client’s damages, including lost wages, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses. We also discussed the “general” or “non-economic” damages as well. One important consideration, however, is the timing of the demand.
We prefer to submit our demand for settlement when we know our client is medically stable, and has completed treatment. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is always nice to have an accurate and final accounting of all medical expenses and lost income. We also have a better idea of our clients future prognosis. Often times, a physician will not be able to give an opinion on the nature and severity of a permanent impairment until the client has become stable, and is no longer actively treating.
There are cases where our client may require future care, and we may include information, including a life care plan, that sets out future medical needs. Similarly, if our client is facing a loss of vocational capacity, or long-term disability, and economists may help us determine those future losses to be considered as part of the demand.
Of course, the applicable statute of limitations is the final word on when a demand will be presented, or if we decide to forego the demand process, and filed the case in court.
If you have been involved in a serious accident, would long-term consequences, you should know your options, and what can be included in a settlement demand. If you have questions involving a serious injury case in Washington or Oregon, call us at 503-325-8600. We can answer your questions, and give you an idea of how the process works.