Working With Your Personal Injury Lawyer
Suffering a personal injury is not easy. Personal injuries create physical as well as emotional stresses. On the physical level, stresses include medical bills and uncertainty about ongoing medical needs. Accident victims also suffer financial losses from taking time off of work, and may have difficulty handling mundane tasks as a result of the accident. As a personal injury victim, you may have to hire someone to help you with things you can no longer do because of the accident. All these unwelcome changes can make it difficult to think clearly about how to best work with your accident attorney in building your case.
Because of such additional stressors, people sometimes pick the first accident lawyer that comes to mind, instead of finding the right attorney for the job. An experienced injury lawyer understands the stresses that an accident can cause. An injury attorney with the right expertise knows how to work with a personal injury victim so as to maximize that person’s possible recovery. The accident lawyer’s job is to help you obtain the best possible compensation for the accident losses you have suffered.
How Your Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
Your accident attorney has an ethical obligation to do everything in his or her power to help you succeed in your personal injury claim. Not all accident lawyers are sufficiently trained or capable to handle the kind of complex litigation that a personal injury case entails. An experienced accident attorney has to keep track of many details, including:
- the evidence necessary your accident lawyer needs to prove your injury claim
- whether your accident attorney can obtain a better recovery for your personal injury case through alternative dispute resolution, such as meditation or negotiation
- the progress of a personal injury litigation from filing the personal injury claim until settlement or trial
- the value of your personal injury case
- the viability of any settlement offers that your accident attorney receives before trial
When evaluating accident attorneys, be sure that you look for an injury lawyer who is committed to communicating confidentially with you about important aspects of your case. Your personal injury attorney should be able to handle your personal injury case with respect and courtesy, and should return calls about your case promptly. You attorney also should demonstrate integrity, honesty and intelligence in pursuing your case, and should respect any special needs you may have. Finally, your accident lawyer should have experience:
- assessing your personal injury claim to decide what it is worth
- creating investigative teams that help document your personal injury
- negotiating with insurance companies involved in your claim
- dealing with other injury lawyers who may be involved your case
- preparing personal injury cases like yours for trial
- structuring and negotiating settlements for your personal injury cases
- presenting the personal injury case before a judge, and arguing the case before the jury
How You Can Help Your Accident Lawyer
You can help your accident attorney build your case by continuing to document expenses relating to your injury and conveying this information to your personal injury lawyer. Here is some of the information your lawyer will need to help put your personal injury claim together.
Information About Medical Costs and Other Losses
Your personal injury attorney will want to see records of all important medical information. For example:
- If you were taken from the scene of the personal injury by ambulance, then you should furnish the name and contact information for the ambulance service, the date you were admitted to emergency room following your personal injury, and contact details for the hospital.
- For any other medical care, provide your attorney with the name, address, telephone number, and email of all doctors who have examined and cared for you, whether in any emergency room visit or during follow-up care.
- If you received care from other health professionals, then provide your attorney with contact information for these providers. Other health professionals can include chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, massage therapists, dietitians and nutritionists, home nurses, and others.
- Give your attorney copies of all emergency, hospitalization and other medical bills, and well as receipts from visits with other health care providers.
Also let your lawyer know the dates you missed work because of your accident, and provide details about wages you might have lost during that time.
Information About the Accident
- Give your attorney the names and contact information for all witnesses to the accident.
- If you have any written statements you or others have made about your injury or the accident that caused it, then provide these to your personal injury lawyer.
- Provide information about any police report or other accident report your personal injury lawyer should obtain relating to your case.
- Give your attorney a copy of any insurance policy or coverage certificate relevant to your personal injury, including automotive insurance if you had a car accident, health insurance such as major medical, disability, or veteran’s insurance.
- Any correspondence you have received from any insurer about your personal injury is also important. Give your attorney the name and telephone of insurance adjuster or other representative who has spoken with you about your personal injury.
- Provide your attorney with receipts for expenses you incurred because of your personal injury, or with receipts for things you had to have repaired because of your personal injury.
Be sure to bring all the relevant documents and information to your accident lawyer during your visit. Also make sure that you communicate with your accident attorney as you receive more documents from your caregivers, insurers, insurance adjusters, and other parties during your case.
Talk to Your Accident Lawyer Regularly About Your Case
Your injury attorney will work with you to make important decisions about your claim as your personal injury case progresses.
For example, at various points in the claim, your injury lawyer may ask you questions about your interest in taking your personal injury case all the way to trial. Your accident attorney may have a professional opinion about whether you might be able to achieve a better recovery by settling your personal injury case prior to a jury verdict. Or, your accident lawyer may recommend meditation or binding arbitration as a way to decide your personal injury case without a trial. Your accident attorney also may want to discuss trial strategy with you.
The best thing you can do is talk to your attorney regularly about your case. Success in a personal injury lawsuit requires tenacity and experience. By communicating regularly with your injury lawyer, you can maximize the chance of walking away with a more satisfactory resolution to your claim.
Remember that although your accident lawyer may have experience and expertise in personal injury law, the final decision is yours. You have to decide whether to accept any specific personal injury settlement offer, or whether to continue with the litigation process from that point forward.
Although your accident attorney can guide and advise you as your case moves through the courts, you are ultimately responsible for your personal injury claim. That is why you should choose an accident lawyer who is experienced and able to communicate regularly and effectively with you about the progress of your personal injury case. It takes a great deal of cooperation and trust between you and your accident lawyer to obtain a successful recovery for your personal injury claim.