After you hire an attorney for your personal injury case, make sure you keep in touch with the lawyer during the claim process. It is important to provide your attorney with the actual evidence used to prove your case. This includes medical bills, expenses, and loss of income documentation from your employment. Regular communication is important. If your attorney calls you, make sure you return their call as soon as you can since they may be seeking to obtain further information or update you about your case.
Here are some other suggestions:
Make sure to thoroughly read all correspondence from your attorney.
Keep all medical appointments with your treating doctors and physical therapy appointments.
Maintain a file of all medical bills records, lost wages, and other expenses in relation to the incident.
Make sure to keep a list all of witnesses who can testify about your injuries or the events of the accident. These people may be called upon especially if litigation is necessary.
Collect any and all photos that were taken at the scene of the accident and any photos depicting damage or injuries. Make sure your lawyer gets copies - digital photos are best.
Make sure you notify your attorney of any changes in address, phone number, marital status, change of employment, or significant change of your physical condition.
If you receive any correspondence, bills, etc. in the mail relating to your case from anyone or any facility, send a copy to your lawyer. Don't assume your lawyer is automatically getting copies unless you see them specifically copied on the correspondence.
Keeping your lawyer in the loop helps your case run smoothly.
Be sure to answer all your attorney’s questions truthfully and honestly. There is nothing to be gained from hiding information from your lawyer. If you need help with your personal injury case, call our office at (661) 414-7100 or click here to get started.
During my initial consultation with a potential personal injury client, the fundamental question that I'm thinking about during our first conference is whether or not I can bring any VALUE to their case as their attorney. In many cases, the answer is "no." That doesn't mean I don't want to help the injured client or I won't offer them my advice....it just means that if I take the case and act as their attorney, it won't do them much good. In fact, in some cases, bringing a lawyer on board can complicate matters and result in a negative financial result for the client. Some lawyers will take almost any case if they feel they can make some money....they unfortunately do not consider whether doing so would be helpful to the client.
Here is a perfect example of how this usually happens. A client will come into my office and present me with a property damage estimate of less than $1000. Upon further inspection, we realize that less than half of that estimate is for "parts" and the rest is for "labor." Furthermore, photos show minor damage to the car and now the client comes to me expecting me to perform some kind of "magic" for them. In some cases, they fought with the adjuster and now they've come to me. Truth is, no matter what I do, the insurance company for the responsible party is going to treat their case as a "MIST" claim. MIST stands for "Minor Impact Soft Tissue." As such, insurance companies rarely offer much money on these kinds of cases unless the client's case is very unique in some way. Some insurance companies have a policy where they don't offer any more than $500 to $3000 on MIST cases, no matter what. If you have minor property damage, you're going to get a small offer. That's just the way it goes.
Every so often, a jury will disagree with the insurance company, but in most cases, the insurance companies know that juries are stingy and won't give much money to the injured party either. The insurance companies are banking on the fact they are probably going to win 80% of the minor cases that go to trial.
Therefore, if I can't bring any value to the case, I generally won't get involved. I tell the clients, "If I take a third of your recovery as my fee (which is a common attorney's fee), then you will be left with little to nothing after this case is done." In these cases, I generally give the clients some tips about how to resolve their case without a lawyer. Remember, if I can't bring value, then I'm reluctant to get involved.
Keep in mind that all cases are different and unique, so you should take this blog post (and anything else you read on the internet) with a grain of salt. At least talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer and get some advice. That way, you can make an educated decision. In some cases, you may even want to get two opinions just to make sure.
Every so often, I get a call from a client who caused a car accident. They are worried about a claim possibly being made against them, and worse, having to defend themselves in a potential lawsuit. They ask, "Do I have to hire a lawyer to defend me?" It's often surprising to me how many folks don't realize that a benefit of having automobile insurance is the insurance company will handle the claim for you. That's why you are paying premiums. Report the accident to your insurance company and let them deal with the claim. If the incident was very minor, you might be able to handle things yourself, but in most cases, you are are better off tendering the matter to your insurance company. If you are sued, they will provide you with an attorney to defend you in most cases...however you should take comfort in knowing that most cases are settled without going to court.
Keep in mind, you should make sure you have adequate insurance. If you have a good job and income, and/or some assets, don't get the minimal insurance policy required by law. If you cause significant injury to someone, their attorney is not going to be happy with your tiny car insurance policy. They are going to take that policy and go after you for the rest. Therefore, if you have adequate insurance, your insurance company will handle the claim for you and provide you with an attorney to defend you just in case. The reason you want adequate liability insurance is to encourage a claimant to take your insurance policy without coming after you for the rest. If you want to learn more about this subject, feel free to call my office to discuss.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.