What should be in a person's personal injury file?

Asked about 4 years ago - Bakersfield, CA

If a person has been injured in a big rig type of accident what type of information should the injured person expect to see if he or she was to look in their file. If a person has never gone through this type of process before what does this person look for in his or her file is there anything specific that should stand out in this type of personal injury case? Would any of the information in the file depend on how long an attorney has been handling cases or is the information standard in every big rig accident case? If an attorney has been practicing personal injury cases for 10 years is this enough experience to handle a big rig type of case or does it just depend on the attorney or law firm? Thanks for any responses which one does understand to be just for informational purposes only.

Additional information

What is the reason why a lawyer would not want his or her client to see his or her own file since he or she is on the hook for the bill, that seems strange to me that this would be a problem but I am just a layman that is why questions like these get asked. For average people not in this legal system everyday how are they to know what is or isn't a reasonable request not every attorney or person in general is ethical and what system is set in place to make sure that a client is being told the truth about his or her case in real-time not once the case is over. Just because someone says something doesn't make it so and how would a person off the street the average citizen know unless he or she asks questions and not just to one person even if it is just for informational purposes only because you can't get accurate information on the internet but it doesn't hurt to ask a question.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Gary Edwin Haslerud

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . The contents of your "file" will likely be related to how long your attorney has been working on your case. If the attorney has been working on that type of case for a while, examples of what the file would contain would include a trafifc collision report, medical records, photographs of vehicles, repair estimates for vehicles, possibly witness statements and any letters exchanged with your attorney and anyone else with respect to that matter. As far as weather or not the attorney is qualified to handle the matter, he or she may be fully qualified, although years of experience is not the only factor. For example, has he/she handled similar cases previously? Have they had many trials? Thease are questions I would ask.

  2. Adam David Sorrells

    Contributor Level 13

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . The other contributors have given good information. I will not duplicate their answers, but only expound. To answer the question, is a lawyer who has practiced 10 years experienced enough to take on a trucking case, the answer is that it depends. I felt pretty experienced after 10 years, but feel more competent now (at 18 years). Some lawyers have packed a lot of experience into their first 10 years, or are just very competent. Some have no business trying to take on a trucking company, as these cases are complicated and tough. There are certain and special things a lawyer needs to know when taking on a trucking company.

    Good luck.

    Adam Sorrells
    Truck Accident Lawyer

    Disclaimer: The above was not legal advice and cannot be relied on. For informational purposes only. Time is of the essence, do not delay seeking legal advice and pursuing your legal rights.

  3. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . This is a really strange question. If you are looking to hire a lawyer, why ask what should be in the file that doesn't exist yet? Anyway for general informational purposes, a file for such a case would contain investigation materials including all relevant police and agency reports, probably photos and maps, and possibly witness statements; an insurance file with information regarding insurers involved; a medical file; a legal research file; and of course correspondence and legla papers once the case gets going.

    Why a client would ask this question is beyond me. Get the best lawyer you can find and let the lawyer do the legal work. Don't expect to stop by from time to time to flip through the files. You have a perfect right to do that, but lawyers don't like it and for good reason. A client needs to be kept informed but looking through the lawyer's file is not helpful to the lawyer or the client. If you feel that you need to see every piece of paper there is a problem in your relationship with the lawyer. It is an unreasonable request.

  4. L. Maxwell Taylor

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Besides all the paper from investigating the facts (i.e., police reports, witness interviews, medical records, court records from other incidents, USDOT records reflecting the driver's activity including how much sleep he or she had, inspection records, maintenance records, etc.), a file might contain notes the lawyer made on his or her theories of the case, mental impressions of interviewees including the client, etc. These mental impressions are absolutely privileged from disclosure to anybody under general principles of law. If the lawyer were fired and obliged to turn over the file to successor counsel, he would be entitled to withhold notes containing his mental impressions.

    Not legal advice as I don't hold California licensure. It's just my two cents in response to your question based on general principles of law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds California licensure.

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