What are the steps to initiate a law suit to get reimbursed for my rehabilitation following a car accident?

About 7 1/2 months ago, I was rear-ended and was injured from my neck to my middle back. I am close to being done with my physical therapy session and have all the dates I have out of work. How do i go about being reimbursed and paid for pain and suffering without a lawyer. The other insurance company asked for all the billing receipts. I am looking for advice so I don’t be taken advantage of by the other insurance company.

Asked on April 6, 2017 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss. Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include those items.  Send a demand letter to that insurance carrier summarizing what occurred in the accident and listing your medical providers/bills, wage loss.  The demand letter should place a high dollar value on the case.  Don't expect to get that amount because the insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and you can continue negotiations to attempt to have the insurance carrier raise its settlement offer. 
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports document your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills. There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the case and whether or not you have residual complaints after completing treatment or have fully recovered.  Under either scenario, you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.  If you have residual complaints you receive more than if you have fully recovered.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  CA has a two year statute of limitations in personal injury cases which means your lawsuit must be filed prior to the second anniversary of the date of the accident.

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