Give your attorney a clearly written chronology of events, including every detail, witness, name, place, address, phone number or memory of the time leading up to, during, and after the injury. Even if you think a detail is unimportant, include it.
If you have receipts, photographs, video, or any other relevant media,, get it to your attorney right away. Your attorney can decide what it important or not. Clients may leave out a detail or a witness and then learn, too late, that the one they left out could have made all the difference in the outcome of their case. Include EVERYTHING.
Additionally, a journal during your recovery can jog your memory about important dates, appointments, and changes in your physical or emotional state. Tell your attorney immediately about major events, especially a new accident, injury, development in your condition, or serious change in your circumstances.
Record and REPORT.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Only your lawyer handles your claim. Only communicate about your case with your attorney. Refuse to talk to insurance adjusters, investigators, or potential defendants who may try to trick or coerce you into making statements on the telephone or agreeing to their leading questions, such as, "you feel better, right?" Because an innocent statement, that you meant to indicate you do not feel as bad as you did while you were in the hospital or the day the injury occurred, can seriously damage your case and you may be impeached at trial by an adjuster who testifies about your phone conversations and how you said you felt better. Simply do NOT talk to them and they cannot twist what you say or lie about what you have said.
Bill Paying & Sneaky Releases
If your automobile insurance company is paying your bills, they will send you a medical record release to sign. Many of these releases include language giving them access to ALL of your MEDICAL RECORDS, including counseling, drug treatment, mental health, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Once they have this information and deposit your personal information into their computers, anyone with access may see it. The Insurance Medical Records Company maintains a huge database with information gathered just this way for use by insurance companies in defense of your claim. This is a double-edged sword. Today's friend could be tomorrow's enemy. DON'T SIGN ANYTHING YOUR ATTORNEY HAS NOT YET APPROVED.
Getting the Right Treatment
Your first priority is to get the best care and treatment to help you recover as best you can. Proper diagnosis and treatment is essential to that end. After receiving any required emergency care, you need to consult with a trustworthy medical doctor, experienced in treating cases such as yours. Emergency room physician's initial assessments are rarely the final word. Their primary goal is to get people out of E.R. as efficiently and quickly as possible. Some injuries are not discernable until long after your first assessment. Your family physician should refer you to the proper specialists. If not, your attorney should know of reliable specialist who can give you reliable opinions. If you receive a misdiagnoses and settle a case for $1100 you cannot go back and void that settlement if it turns out you have problem requiring $75,000.00 or more in surgery and perhaps months of recovery. Proper diagnosis is crucial before starting any settlement negotiations.
Time is on Your Side
Your attorney will often wait for a year or two before filing your lawsuit. This gives you the opportunity to establish whether or not your condition is stable. Any hidden injuries have the chance to make themselves know. Getting your car fixed or replaced is not dependant on you settling with the insurance company, even though the insurance company might tell you otherwise. They desire your file closed with a minimal settlement and an unbreakable release of all claims. They may rush you to take the check in order to rob you of the true value of your case. Three years is the usual time limit for filing your lawsuit before the statute of limitations has run and the court bars the filing of your claim. Two to three years is often a usual wait after the lawsuit has been filed before your trial. Your stable and established condition is more likely to occur by then.
Keep Your Lawyer Informed
Stay in regular contact with your attorney. Keep your contact information current. Your address, and phone numbers are essential. Updates to witnesses or other important contacts in your case are extremely important. If your attorney cannot reach you, important dates or opportunities could pass by without you, perhaps irreparably ruining your case. If you are unreachable and too much time goes by, your attorney may legally remove himself from your case. STAY IN TOUCH.
You have already heard it before:"The only stupid question is the one you don't ask." It is especially true when working with your lawyer. Attorneys really do speak another language, the language of law. They often forget that even a brilliant person will not always grasp what they or a judge is saying. Your lawyer is happy to explain things like what an interrogatory is, and explain paperwork, declarations, depositions, statements, motions, kinds of hearings and their purposes, and what the "legal language" means in your documents. Your attorney can put you at ease about many things, if you just ASK.
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