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How do I list potential damages for a lawyer in a negligence case? Is there a format, guidance or advice for what/how to list?

San Clemente, CA |

An attorney says I have an excellent cause of action but needs to know my potential damages...I have no background in law so I don't know how or what to list! The lawyer is out of the office until Thursday - any advice would be great...what do you guys want to see? what do you not want to see? do you want us to explain every little detail of the causation for each damage? or should it be general? Since some damages would come from emotional suffering, should I go into a narrative vs. bullet points? HELP! I don't know where to start and I don't want to scare the attorney away with too much text and info!!

Attorney Answers 9

  1. In a medical malpractice case, special damages are very important, as they are unlimited. These are economic damages for lost income, medical bills, cost of care and rehabilitation, nursing, etc., past, present and future. General damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and so forth are limited to $250,000, but still must be compelling. Your economic damages may be offset by any health or disability insurance you may have, so your attorney will need to know that.

  2. The drafting of a pleading is a HUGE aspect of a case. I would sit down with an attorney for assistance with the drafting. It is too important not to pay an attorney for an hour or two of her or his time. Either wait until the attorney is back in the office or seek out another attorney

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.

  3. First of all, relax. It sounds like you have contacted an attorney who is considering taking your case and he/she needs more information about your damages. The attorney will ask you the questions needed to assess your damages. It will be helpful if you have some of the information organized (see Mr. Rogers' response for details about the types of damages you can seek) for the attorney. For example, if you lost wages because of the malpractice, it will help the attorney to know how much you earn, now much time you lost, etc...

    Good luck.

  4. Best to wait for your attorney to return and talk to him about what he is looking for.

  5. You can start with your medical bills. You cannot be too detailed. I have some clients that are very meticulous and make my job much easier. It is helpful to have copies of all bills and records of payment whether by you, an insurance company and/or medicaid/medicare. Lost income, broken down as accurately as possible with copies of pay stubs and tax returns for the last 5 years as well as any other documentation that is unique to your employment and benefit plans that may be affected. You should detail you daily activities before the accident and how that changed after the malpractice and the degree of pain during each period of time following the malpractice. Although there are other details that can be provided, this will give the attorney a good idea of the potential scope of your claim.

  6. Bullet points are fine. You didn't say what kind of incident this was or what injuries you're trying to outline, but economic damages are usually out of pocket stuff like medical bills, property damage, and/or lost earnings. Noneconomic damages are usually pain, suffering, embarrassment, inconvenience, etc. Break it down like that.

  7. If your lawyer can't figure out damages, get one who can. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to locate a top-rated Avvo attorney with a low contingency fee. Good luck.

  8. Talk to your lawyer and find out what he wants.

    I am a personal injury lawyer located in Dayton, Ohio. I am an experienced trial lawyer who represents injury victims against the insurance companies. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. I am not providing any legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of Ohio. You should contact an attorney for legal advice.

  9. If your lawyer is any good, he/she should be able to sit down with you and tell you exactly what he/she needs and what kind of damages are/are not available. If the attorney cannot do something as basic as that, get another one. Never forget that the lawyer works for you, not the other way around.

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