Step-by Step Personal Injury Checklist
While every personal injury case is unique to each client, there is a personal injury checklist that most lawyers use. A checklist helps keep the lawyer and client focused on each part of the case. The personal injury checklist helps avoid missing crucial evidence. A good checklist helps anticipate insurance company and defense lawyer arguments. Attorneys keep their clients in mind and work with their clients while the case proceeds.
According to Miami Beach Patch, car drivers between 25 and 34 are in the most accidents.
Personal injury checklist – the initial interview
These items usually take place during the initial lawyer/client meeting:
- Initial lawyer/client meeting paperwork. The lawyer or his staff will normally explain that gathering all the written evidence is essential. In some cases, the lawyer asks the client to bring written documents into the office. In other cases, the attorney asks the client to sign an authorization form allowing the lawyer to obtain the necessary records. Common written documentation includes:
- A list of all medical bills
- A copy of the declaration pages of your PIP and MedPay policy
- A copy of your health insurance policy
- Written medical reports documenting your injuries, treatment, and prognosis
- Wage statements
- Car repair bills and estimates
- Rental car expenses
- Photographs of the victim, the accident site, and the vehicles
- The police report
- Signing the contingency fee agreement. Once the lawyer agrees to take the case, he prepares a written fee agreement letter. This personal injury checklist item explains how much the lawyer will receive if the case settles and how much the attorney gets if the case goes to verdict. The agreement sets forth the lawyer’s duty to work on the client’s behalf. Both the lawyer and the client sign and date the contingency fee letter.
- The initial interview. At the first meeting, the lawyer will ask the client a number of questions. One purpose of these questions is to determine, from your viewpoint, how the accident happened. The lawyer may ask you to draw on a diagram how the accident occurred. He may give you some toy cars that you can move to explain what happened. A second part of the interview is to review your medical complaints. The lawyer wants to know everything that hurts, what doctors you’re seeing, and who can verify your medical problems.
Personal injury checklist – pretrial
- Pre-discovery work. Your lawyer will work to investigate the cause of the accident. This may include hiring a private investigator. He’ll also follow through with your doctors. They lawyer may even suggest you see some other specialists such as a pain management doctor.
- Discovery. The Florida personal injury checklist includes asking and answering questions about your case. Interrogatories are written questions. The defense lawyer will send you questions to answer. Your lawyer will submit written questions to the person who hit you or the persons responsible. Depositions are oral questions. The lawyers have the right to ask the parties questions under oath about what happened. Also, each lawyer can request that relevant written documents be turned over. Your lawyer will guide you through each part of the discovery process.
- Insurance letters. The plaintiff’s lawyer will notify your no-fault insurance company and the fault insurance company that he is representing our interests.
- The demand letter. Generally, after discovery is complete and your medical prognosis is clear, your lawyer prepares a written demand letter. This letter summarizes your out of pocket expenses. It explains why you’re in pain and how you are suffering. The letter also states why you believe the other party is at fault.
- Negotiation. Once the demand letter is sent, your lawyer and the defense lawyer (or the insurance adjuster) will work to see if a settlement is possible.
Personal injury checklist – the trial
- Pretrial preparation. If a settlement can’t be reached, your lawyer requests that the case be submitted for a formal hearing. He’ll work with you and your witnesses to verify you have all the information you need
- The trial. The trial is usually before a jury of your peers. Your attorney helps you select the jury. He then presents your case to the jury. He’ll argue that the other side caused your injuries. After the liability phase of the case, the lawyer presents all the medical evidence and personal evidence to explain and support all your damages.